How To Detect Phishing Attacks And Avoid Compromising Critical Data Assets

A phishing attack has been a widespread occurrence with email users. Malicious emails are sent to a user, usually with the help of spoofing techniques. An ordinary user who doesn’t know how to detect phishing attacks mistakes them to be genuine emails from legitimate organizations and share their confidential and sensitive information.

Malicious actors are also advanced today and have been trying sophisticated techniques to overcome all security measures against phishing. Therefore, the users need to be deeply aware of how strong the adversaries are and be equipped with the knowledge of how to investigate phishing emails and prevent them from compromising the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical data assets.

email phishing prevention

Phishing Attacks Detection

Various phishing prevention software tools are available to detect phishing attacks. Besides catching a phishing email, they also direct them to a separate folder instead of the inbox. However, since there are attempts from malicious actors to create emails that closely resemble genuine ones, the users also must do whatever they can for email phishing prevention. Many indications help the user to recognize a phishing email, as described below.

Public Domain Name

Reputed organizations usually have their dedicated domain, whereas malicious actors could be using a public domain to send their emails. Hence, if you receive emails with the public domain claiming to be a reputable company, much caution is required. It could be an attempt at phishing by malicious actors, which can be avoided if the user has the necessary information on how to stop phishing emails.

Domain Name Spoofing

There can also be some cases where the domain name is a misspelled version of a legitimate site. This technique is one of the most popular ones used by malicious actors. The misspelling confuses an ignorant user who is not adequately informed on how to mitigate phishing attacks. They think that it is an email from a legitimate site. One needs to detect such phishing attempts by a thorough check of the domain name with the email received. There have been many significant misrepresentations in the past that have caused enormous losses. In many cases, the phishing attempts were only detected after the organizations suffered substantial losses.

Poor Email Layout

May phishing emails are composed very poorly with a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. An observant eye can catch such errors easily. A standard organization’s emails are usually well organized. The poor composition of the phishing emails could be due to various reasons. A common one is that the malicious actors may not be from an English speaking country. Many of them use spelling checkers to correct the wordings; however, the whole sentence cannot be organized well, helping the user detect the scams and avoid phishing attacks.

Suspicious Attachments

A prevalent phishing method is to use an attachment with the email. It could be extremely harmful to your system. Downloading it must be done after careful consideration. If it is from the wrong source, downloading it could install a virus or other malware into the system. It can also spread across the entire network or stay hidden for a long time, during which the network will be compromised in many ways. Malware can extract critical information from an information network, causing financial and reputational losses to the organization. Hence, a reasonably good understanding and awareness of how to prevent phishing and spoofing are essential for every user.

Direct Request For Information

Legitimate organizations do not request sensitive information directly. They have standard ways to communicate with the customer. If any email comes with a link that redirects the user to some website that requests confidential information, it is probably a phishing attempt. Divulging critical information over such sites can have undesirable consequences. A smart user who knows how to detect phishing attacks will always mark such emails as spam and report them instead of responding to their requests.

The first step to the best phishing protection practices is to identify the traps hidden in malicious emails, such as mentioned above. Phishing protection software helps to a significant extent to detect a phishing attempt in the first instance and move it to spam instead of directing it to the inbox. However, phishing prevention best practices also include staying informed on the user’s part. They should know how to detect phishing attacks, as advanced malicious actors always try to design their phishing attempts in a way that highly resembles genuine emails to a significant extent. Hence, every user must be adequately prepared to handle phishing attacks themselves besides installing relevant protection software.

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