Don’t fall into a hacker’s trap! With the growing number of fake emails pretending to be from Office 365 or documents on a Microsoft One Drive, we all need to think before we click.
Before you click on any links in an email or download any attachments, you have to ask yourself some key questions and look for any red flags. The image below illustrates what to look for in a fake or phishing email and the questions you should be asking yourself before you act upon any details sent in an email. Alternatively you can contact our IT support team here at Focus Group who can provide specialist cyber security advice.
Social Engineering Red Flags
- I don’t recognise the sender’s email address as someone I ordinarily communicate with.
- This email is from someone outside my organisation and it’s not related to my job responsibilities.
- This email was sent from someone inside the organisation or from a customer, vendor, or partner and is very unusual or out of character.
- Is the sender’s email address from a suspicious domain (like microsoft-support.com)?
- I don’t know the sender personally and they were not vouched for by someone I trust.
- I don’t have a business relationship nor any past communications with the sender.
- This is an unexpected or unusual email with an embedded hyperlink or an attachment from someone I haven’t communicated with recently.
- I was CC’d on an email sent to one or more people, but I don’t personally know the other people it was sent to.
- I received an email that was also sent to an unusual mix of people. For instance, it might be sent to a random group of people at my organisation whose last names start with the same letter, or a whole list of unrelated addresses.
- I hover my mouse over a hyperlink that’s displayed in the email message, but the link-to address is for a different website. (This is a big red flag)
- I received an email that only has long hyperlinks with no further information, and the rest of the email is completely blank.
- I received an email with a hyperlink that is a misspelling of a known web site. For instance, www.bankofanerica.com - the ‘m’ is really two characters - ‘r’ and ‘n’.
- Did I receive an email that I normally would get during regular business hours, but it was sent at an unusual time like 3am?
- Did I get an email with a subject line that is irrelevant or does not match the message content?
- Is the email message a reply to something I never sent or requested?
- The sender included an email attachment that I was not expecting or that makes no sense in relation to the email message. (This sender doesn’t ordinarily send me this type of attachment).
- I see an attachment with a possibly dangerous file type. The only file type that is always safe to clink on is a .txt file.
- Is the sender asking me to click on a link or open an attachment to avoid a negative consequence or to gain something of value?
- Is the email out of the ordinary, or does it have bad grammar or spelling errors?
- Is the sender asking me to click a link or open up an attachment that seems odd or illogical?
- Do I have an uncomfortable gut feeling about the sender’s request to open an attachment or click a link?
- Is the email asking me to look at a compromising or embarrassing picture of myself or someone I know?