Better Identify Malicious Emails

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Malicious emails have become a common issue for businesses over the years. In fact, business email attacks increase 8% each year. There are multiple kinds of email attacks, but the most common are BEC (Business Email Compromise) attacks and phishing. These malicious emails are used for malware, ransomware, viruses, and other cyber attacks. For example, Purplesec’s 2021 Cyber Security Trends Report noted that 66% of malware is installed via malicious email attachments and 21% of ransomware involved social actions, such as phishing.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are opportunists who like to take advantage of vulnerabilities (technology and otherwise), disasters, and crises (such as Covid-19). Cybercriminals often play on your emotions, desires, fears, and generosity to trick you into clicking a bad link, opening a malicious attachment, or paying them money.

Boost your defenses against malicious emails by knowing how to spot them and some key practices to follow.
  1. Verify: Understand where the email is coming from. Only trust reputable sources, and if you’re not sure, verify the source’s website or contact the organization directly with any concerns.
  2. Exercise Caution: Like any phishing email, scammers disguise email content in ways that can be difficult to differentiate legitimacy. Be suspicious of any email that attempts to gather your personal information or threatens you to make a panic-induced decision.
  3. Don’t Click: Some scams can include links or attachments that phish information from you or your computer. If you’re unsure of legitimate attachments or links, do not click them, or it may result in malware or ransomware on your computer.
  4. Be Aware: Cybercriminals often pose as charities to take advantage of your generosity. Verify any charity by going to its website and doing online research. Any monetary donations should be made through a secure payment form with a credit card – avoid donating via cash, gift card, or wire transfer as those are scammers’ preferred donation types.
  5. Email Security: Invest in email security for your business. With email security, you can set protocols to better prevent spam and malicious emails from reaching your employees’ inboxes.
  6. Continued Education: It’s always a good idea to refresh both your and your employees’ memories about how to recognize malicious emails. With a few reminders and even some examples every year, employees are more likely to spot a malicious email before any damage is done.

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