April 25, 2023

What are phishing emails?

“75% of all cybercrimes start from an email”

This is a truly shocking statistic. In today’s digital age, email has become an integral part of our lives. We use it for personal and professional communication, online shopping, and even financial transactions. While email has made our lives easier, it has also become a breeding ground for cyber criminals. One of the most common tactics used by cyber criminals is phishing emails.

Phishing emails are fraudulent emails that are designed to trick the recipient into sharing sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, or personal identification information (PII). Phishing emails are usually disguised as legitimate emails from trusted sources, such as banks, online retailers, or social media websites. The goal of these emails is to steal sensitive information or to infect the recipient’s computer with malware.

It’s important to identify some of the common characteristics of phishing emails that you should be aware of:

  1. Urgent or threatening language: Phishing emails often use urgent or threatening language to create a sense of urgency and panic. For example, an email might claim that your account has been hacked or that there has been suspicious activity on your account.
  2. Suspicious links: Phishing emails often contain links that are designed to look legitimate but actually lead to a fake website. These websites are designed to steal your login credentials or other sensitive information.
  3. Suspicious attachments: Phishing emails may contain attachments that are infected with malware. These attachments may look legitimate, such as a PDF or Word document, but can infect your computer when opened.
  4. Generic greetings: Phishing emails often use generic greetings, such as “Dear customer” or “Dear member.” Legitimate emails from trusted sources usually use your name or username.
  5. Spoofed email addresses: Phishing emails often use email addresses that are similar to legitimate email addresses but contain small variations, such as a missing letter or an extra character.

So, how can you protect yourself from phishing emails? Here are some tips:

  1. Be sceptical: If an email seems too good to be true or too urgent, it’s probably a phishing email. Always verify the legitimacy of the email before clicking on any links or providing any sensitive information.
  2. Check the sender’s email address: Check the sender’s email address carefully to make sure it’s legitimate. Look for small variations, such as a missing letter or an extra character, which may indicate a spoofed email address.
  3. Verify the link: Before clicking on any links in an email, hover your mouse over the link to see the URL. If the URL looks suspicious or doesn’t match the sender’s website, don’t click on it.
  4. Use security software: Use security software, such as antivirus and antimalware software, to protect your computer from malware and other cyber threats.

By being aware of the common characteristics of phishing emails and taking steps to protect yourself, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to a phishing attack. Remember to always verify the legitimacy of an email before clicking on any links or providing any sensitive information. Stay safe online!

If you’re interested in starting a cyber security career please get in touch with our team of career advisors.

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