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Phishing Attack: Red Flags To Avoid

by Blog

Human beings are trusting. This is actually a proven scientific fact, we are wired to trust when oftentimes we shouldn’t.  This is a partial explanation for people getting conned throughout history. The conmen of the past have been replaced however, by a new breed, hackers and cyber-scammers. Are you being scammed? Here’s some red flags to look out for.


Have you gotten a notification that you won some contest you never entered or have been approved for a loan you never applied for? Don’t proceed! These are red flags of phishing attempts. At first glance they may seem like they are coming from reputable companies such as PayPal or Facebook but they are from scammers looking to take your money or information. You must give consent to enter a contest, be it filling out information or buying an associated item like a ticket. No bank, anywhere, is just approving people for loans that didn’t apply for one.


Sometimes these things are less obvious. You get an email from a higher up in your organization, with an urgent message. They need your help with money, but it must be in the form of a gift card. You are going to be logged out permanently, so you must click this link and enter your information. If it doesn’t make sense, double check everything. Look at the sender information. Did they send it during business hours? Look at the email it was sent from, does it perfectly match up? Even then if it’s an out of the ordinary request, your best bet is double check with them directly. Even if the email looks correct, the person may have had their account accessed directly from a hacker. Read it carefully for spelling and grammatical errors that may be minor but reoccurring. Usually, the people sending these are either using bots or come from a country that English is not the first language.


This occurs on social media also. You get a friend request from a friend on your friends or connection list. It seems odd since you are already connected to them. The best thing to do in that case is message the person directly. Ask them directly, “hey did you open a second account? I wanted to double check before I added you.” Social media is also where we oftentimes keep clues as to our passwords for various accounts. In fact, one of the biggest ways that hackers are able to get this information is posts that make users indicate their birthdays, pets names, or other personal information that can serve as partial passwords for potential brute force attacks on accounts.


We all carry around smart phones that are usually connected to everything from our social media accounts to our bank accounts. These phishing attempts often come in the form of a text message. You can usually spot them using similar methods to phishing emails. They come from an unfamiliar number. Look for the same spelling and grammar errors you would, as well as links and urgent calls to action. Remember, because our phones link to just about everything we have, an sms attack could leave you more vulnerable than an email attack.


Now that you know the red flags to look for, you may be wondering why do they matter? Phishing attacks are usually the precursor to ransomware, a plague that has been hitting corporations around the country with no end in sight. Once these phishing attacks are carried out, these hackers have access to not only your data and credentials, but your network. From there your data, credentials, and even access to your account is sold for pennies on the dark web to other hackers to carry out financial cybercrimes on your business.


There are many ways to protect your business from these attacks and their attackers. The best way to do this is by partnering with a top-class MSP such as Delval Technology Solutions. By partnering with an MSP you get security features such as endpoint security, monitoring, and offer proactive management to keep you one step ahead of hackers. The best part, they train your staff on cyber security protocols and social engineering to make sure your whole team knows what to look for to keep your network safe.