How to Detect Phishing Attacks: What Are the Best Practices?

Phishing attacks can happen to both individuals and business. Hackers always look for valuable data such as credit card details, passwords, and a whole lot of sensitive information that is that they use to commit a crime. This is devastating to companies and their customers because it will cost them their business or money

Every business person or individual must keep their information safe. In fact, they should be ahead of people committing phishing attacks. Remember that phishing is a serious security challenge. This security challenge is effected in several ways – phone calls, emails, and social media, among other forms of communication.

Knowing how to detect phishing attacks can be a life-saving activity.

How do you detect phishing attacks? Most people fall victims of hackers because of unquestionable believe in their service providers. While detecting phishing emails can be easy, it requires a technical mind to clearly understand the types of phishing attacks and how to prevent them.

If you want to know how to detect and prevent phishing attacks, read the excerpt below.

How people and companies fall victims of phishing attacks

Anyone can fall victim of a phishing attack. Phishers have a sophisticated mechanism to at least trick few clients in a year. Knowing what you are not doing right can help you improve the security of your clients.

Below are some things that you are not doing, hence landing you in the hands of phishers.

Lack of necessary tools in place

If you lack the right tools to prevent phishing attacks, you put the information you have at risk. Such vulnerability can be reduced if you purchase tools that reduce the effects of attackers from accessing your information.

Besides, training employees on how to handle information as well as information security matters can tremendously reduce phishing attacks. Remember that company employees have in-depth knowledge and credentials that are vital to a company. If such information lands in the wrong hands, it will breach the security of the company.

Phishing aims at getting such sensitive information with the aim of using it to gain access to protected networks and data. If a phisher wins the trust of a victim, and he/she will certainly get such information.

We are living in a digital era. Majority of business use websites. Therefore, collecting information is much easier than before. Phishers use various techniques, among them;

  • Embedded links within an email always redirect you to an unsecured website. Such websites request your sensitive information.
  • Installation of a Trojan via a malicious email attachment or ad which will allow the intruder to exploit loopholes and obtain sensitive information
  • Spoofing addresses to appear as a reputable to request sensitive information
  • Impersonating a company or IT people in order to get vital information

Careless internet browsing

Internet browsing is addictive but an excellent source of information. However, browsing the internet in a naive manner can land you in the hands of phishers. Phishers are always on the lookout for people who stray into their website. If you carelessly browse, you’ll without a doubt be a victim of a phishing attack.If you know how to detect phishing attacks, you can maneuver around them.

For companies as well as individuals, it is important to institute policies that prevent accessing certain sites. Such a measure significantly reduces the compromise on security.

Companies must, therefore, sensitize their employees on tactics that phishers use, as well as security strategies to overcome their effects. Besides, being wary of the browser you use is equally important.

Experts advise that one of the best practices is to read the URLs from right to left. The last address is the true domain. Secure URLs that do not possess https are malicious/fraudulent, similar to sites that start with IP address.

One major form of phishing attack is spear-phishing. This is so far the most effective method of phishing. In this type of phishing, the phisher researches an intended target and includes details in an email that makes it seem more real.

For instance, a phisher can create details regarding a corporate social event that might have previously occurred, and it was even published on a website. Such information appears truly credible. It is hard to ascertain whether or not it is a hacker’s handiwork.

Ways on how to detect phishing attacks

Phishing is the most dangerous form of cyber-crime. Much as people are aware of phishing, a good number still fall victims of this longstanding method of cyber-crime. Thirty-two percent of all cyber-attacks involves phishing, according to the Verizon’s 2019 data breach report.

You can reduce these attacks if you know how to detect phishing attacks. Be aware of the following tips that phishers use:

Legitimate site do not ask sensitive information through emails

Scammers will always ask for your sensitive information through the email.  The majority will be sent an email with an attachment or link. They will instruct you to follow the link. Therein, you will be requested to follow the link. This link takes you to a secondary website where you’ll be required to fill in your information.

Take note that not a legitimate website can do such heinous activity. If you closely scrutinize such emails, you’ll notice the contents sound and feel generic.

Legitimate companies refer to you by your first or last name

Have you ever received an email with a salutation like “dear customer” or “dear valued member?” without a second thought, always dismiss such emails or sent them to the spam folder a soon as possible.

Such generic salutations are typical to hackers. Since they do not know your name, they’ll try to use a general terminology. Something general is always fraudulent.

Legitimate companies will always address you directly – by your name. Besides, the company will give directions on how to contact them, probably via the phone.

You need to be vigilant because some hackers avoid the salutation part altogether. This is common in cases of advertisements.

Check grammar and spelling

The legitimate website has a clear command of language because they employ experts to craft emails they sent to their customers. That means that their emails are well written and specific.

However naïve you are, always check on grammar, spelling, and message delivered through an email. Anything imperfect is a sign of a scam.

Companies use domain emails

Receivers of emails should always check who the sender of the email is. Company emails are unique. This is how to detect phishing attacks.

Legitimate companies have an email address that has domain names. Phishers are very clever. They might change only a single letter. Hover your mouse over the sender’s address to ensure that the origin of the email matches that of the legitimate site.

A single letter causes a significant change in an email. If you notice something sinister, dismiss the email.

Redirecting emails

Phishers at times send emails coded as a hyperlink. When you click on such emails (anywhere), it will send you to a fake web page. In some instances, it will download spam onto your computer.

Emails with unsolicited attachments

A legitimate company never sends you unnecessary attachments. If they require any information from you, they’ll inform you to download from their website.

However, in some instances, a company might send you an attachment. So this may pose a risk. The most common information send through an email is the white paper. Such paper requires you to download.

What you must do is to check for some types of files that are high risk, e.g., .scr, .zip, and .exe, among others.

Links must match legitimate URLs

It is important that you double-check every email to ascertain its authenticity before clicking on it. If it is otherwise, do not click on it.

Solution/ how to protect your information

  • Conduct a training session at your company. Train your employees through. You can apply mock phishing scenarios
  • Install SPAM filters, which detects virus and blocks sender of such emails.
  • Ensure that your systems are up-to-date by using the latest security patches and updates.
  • Install vibrant antivirus solution, monitor it’s status and schedule signature updates on all equipment
  • Develop a security policy that includes but not limited to password expiration and complexity
  • Using web filters to block malicious attempts.
  • Encrypt all sensitive company information
  • Convert HTML email into text-only messages
  • Employees that are telecommuting require updated systems. So, provide it for them.
  • Two-factor authentication must be deployed to prevent hackers who have compromised as users credential from ever gaining access.
  • Browser ad-on and extensions can be enabled on browsers that prevent users from clicking on malicious links

That said, a company can employ multiple steps to prevent phishing. The fundamental rule in knowing how to detect phishing attacks is being in tandem with modern strategies employed in preventing phishing.  Besides, once you install, these modern strategies, it is vital that you confirm whether they are working or not.

Of equal importance is that it ensures that employees can use these solutions in the right way. That means you must train employees so that they can use them well.

Enable registration in settings - general