No one will argue that email offers many advantages to an organization as it's a fast, efficient and inexpensive form of communication. However, it's important to also realize the vulnerable position that email can put your business in, especially when it comes to cybercrime.
Email phishing scams are a common way for cyber criminals to gain access to your sensitive data. Email phishing can come in many forms, but these scams are typically sent from a malicious character that is using a counterfeit identity in an attempt to get the recipient to either click on a bad link or share confidential data.
The real danger that IT managers need to take into account with phishing scams is the human element. No matter how robust your cybersecurity strategy is, your business can be compromised when an unsuspecting employee takes the bait and thereby invites a nefarious character through the front door of your organization. Therefore, it's critical that you take the time to educate your employees about these threats and how to identify them.
To create the strongest defence against cybercrime for your organization, here are email phishing red flags to include in your cybersecurity policy:
- Inaccurate Names - The biggest telltale sign of a phishing scam is when the email address in the "From" field doesn't correspond exactly to the company in question. For example, maybe the company name includes a hyphen when no hyphen is necessary. This is a classic example of a cybercriminal trying to impersonate a reputable company to try to fool the recipient into sharing sensitive data.
- Urgent Requests - In addition to impersonating an authority figure, phishing emails also typically include some type of urgent request and threaten disciplinary action if not addressed immediately. Your organization should implement a policy to verify these emails over the phone before taking any action.
- Embedded Links - Another common way cybercriminals gain access to data is by embedding malicious links in an email. Instead of clicking on links in an email, a best practice is to have employees type the URL into their own browser.
Phishing is one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to steal your data. A cybersecurity policy and employee education can help keep your business safe from a phishing attack.