Phishing is the predominant modern cybersecurity threat businesses face, accounting for over 90% of all cyberattacks and breaches. Modern phishing attacks are highly targeted and employ stealthy social engineering techniques to manipulate psychology, evade security defenses and deceive users. That being said, being aware of some basic tips and best practices for recognizing and avoiding phishing emails is a critical part of protecting sensitive information and preventing attacks.

Tips & Best Practices for Avoiding Phishing Attacks

Check for spelling and grammatical errors, which are a key indication that an email may be a phishing attempt. Also, keep an eye out for suspicious subject lines and signatures.

Don’t trust the display name. Just because an email says it’s from a known and trusted sender doesn’t necessarily mean it really is. Even if the email address is legitimate, the message could be coming from a compromised account.

Evaluate the salutation. Is the greeting vague or general? Does the tone sound suspicious coming from the person the email is supposed to be from?

If an email appears strange in any way, make a phone call to the sender to confirm the legitimacy of the email prior to interacting with it.

If you receive an email from a source you know but it seems suspicious, contact that source with a new email, rather than simply hitting reply.

Scan all attachments for viruses, malware, or other dangerous code.

Verify shared links to ensure that they do not lead to fraudulent websites or malicious code.

Beware of urgency. Phishing emails often try to convince recipients to act quickly, without thinking things through.

Think before you act! Take adequate time to evaluate each email you receive before clicking on links or downloading attachments. For instance, ask yourself: Does this order confirmation email correspond to a recent purchase I have made? Do the sender and recipient addresses make sense?

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