How to spot a phishing email

Mar 31, 2020

Everyone is being urged to follow online safety advice as evidence emerges that criminals are exploiting the Coronavirus online.

Experts from the National Cyber Security Centre have revealed a range of attacks being perpetrated online as cyber criminals seek to exploit COVID-19.

Techniques seen since the start of the year include bogus emails with links claiming to have important updates, which once clicked on lead to devices being infected.

These ‘phishing’ attempts have been seen in several countries and can lead to loss of money and sensitive data.

If you haven't clicked any links in the email, that's good. Until you're certain that the sender is genuine, you should not follow any links, or reply.

The next thing to do is try and identify whether the email is a scam, or genuine.

Here's some tips on spotting phishing emails

· Many phishing emails have poor grammar, punctuation and spelling.

· Is the design and overall quality what you'd expect from the organisation the email is supposed to come from?

· Is it addressed to you by name, or does it refer to 'valued customer', or 'friend', or 'colleague'? This can be a sign that the sender does not actually know you, and that it is part of a phishing scam.

· Does the email contain a veiled threat that asks you to act urgently? Be suspicious of words like 'send these details within 24 hours' or 'you have been a victim of crime, click here immediately'.

· Look at the sender's name. Does it sound legitimate, or is it trying to mimic someone you know?

· If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It's most unlikely that someone will want to give you money, or give you access to a secret part of the Internet.

· Your bank, or any other official source, should never ask you to supply personal information from an email.

Try to check any claims made in the email through some other channel. For example, by calling your bank to see if they actually sent you an email or doing a quick Google search on some of the wording used in the email.

Xynics are experts in helping businesses to gather, store and use information in a controlled manner, keeping it secure and compliant with data protection legislation and delivering stability for the business.

If you need help ensuring your business can function over the next few weeks, and work smarter and more effectively going forward, contact us now to talk to us for free about how we can help you.

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