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IT Security Tip of the Week: Five Tricks to Identifying a Phishing Attempt

by | Oct 2, 2019 | MyTek Blog, Tip of the Week

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Phishing is a serious security concern for any organization: big or small. You need to be aware of the warning signs to prevent it from wreaking havoc on your business. 

Phoenix IT security company MyTek shares some tips and tricks to identify a phishing attempt. By sharing these tips with your employees, you can protect your organization.

Top Habits to Prevent Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks can take place anytime. Attackers come up with new tactics to trap their victims and the victim could be one of your team members. Hence, employees must recognize the patterns by observing the attacker’s behavior. Over a period of time, these tactics turn into well-documented guidelines for your employees.

Monitor the Links Before You Click Them

Links take you to a target website. But, cybercriminals can post fake links and take you to malicious websites. To prevent this, you need to develop a habit of hovering your cursor over the link. This process displays the website URL and you can confirm the validity of the link before clicking through it.

How Do You Spot Fraudulent Links 

You need to keep track of certain warning signs to spot fake links that can create security concerns.

For example, let’s assume you’ve received an email from Amazon with an impressive product offer. It might be tempting to click on the link when you really want to get the latest product. But wait! Shouldn’t you confirm if the mail actually came from Amazon? Yes, you need to closely monitor the URL to understand the validity of the link.

What is the actual position of the last “dot” (such as “dot-com”)? In a legitimate URL, the last dot appears at the end. 

  • [amazon.com/deals/sale] – As the last dot is the one in “dot-com,” this link is safe to click through.
  • [amazon.com.deals/sale] – You should not click on this URL, as it contains an additional dot after the domain.

How to Verify the Identity of the Sender?

Who is the sender of the email? Are they real? It might look like a routine email from eBay, Amazon, or PayPal, as skilled fraudsters can easily copy their design. But it is difficult for them to hide the email address in the header bar. Pay close attention to these small details.

Sometimes these fraudsters cleverly omit letters, so the URL still looks similar to the real ones and easily passes through our quick glances. 

For example, quickly skim through the below list items.

  • amazon.com
  • visa.com
  • google.com
  • ebay.com
  • reddit.com
  • payal.com

Did you spot the fake one? If you didn’t, observe more carefully. Since our brains expect certain letters to be present, we subconsciously insert them while reading fast. Similarly, we also easily read scrambled-up words, as long as all the right letters are present and the first and last ones are in their right place. A dedicated analysis of the email address might take a second longer but could prevent a the issue of a major security breach.

Taking extra time to go through the above steps won’t interrupt your routine but will definitely keep your business safe from hackers. For more IT security assistance or a complimentary IT security assessment from MyTek, a Phoenix IT security consulting firm, reach out to us at 623-312-2440.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tim Tiller, LMSW

 
Tim Tiller, MSW brings a deep service background to his role at Mytek, having graduated from McDonald’s management training program, fresh out of high school, and working his way up through the ranks in the hospitality industry. He has led two prior companies – Multi-Systems Inc., an IT-focused organization providing technology to hospitality companies (where he was named President at age 36), and most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Voice Ministries International.

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