Phishing is a type of scam where criminals pretend to be reputable businesses through email, text, or advertisement to obtain financial or sensitive info from their intended victims.
There are different types of phishing which include: email phishing, Spear phishing, clone phishing, sms phishing, https phishing, voice phishing, and lots more. But the purpose of all these types of phishing is to steal confidential information from a targeted individual or set of people.
One of the common ways of phishing is email phishing. And in this article, I’ll be explaining how we can easily detect this kind of phishing and perhaps how to protect ourselves in this situation.
How to detect an email phishing attack.
1. The Greetings: most of the email phishing attackers do present themselves as an organization with which you already have an account. Hence, an obvious way to determine a phishing attempt is to check if your name (at least your first name) is included in the greetings. If the mode of greeting is a general one without addressing a particular person, then this is a red flag that shows something is wrong with the mail.
2. The security details: for every mail received, in the security details, the “mailed by” and “signed by” section usually contains the name of the organization involved, as it’s shown in the left image above.
You can find the security details in the head of the mail. If the mail is being signed by a normal gmail account like the one shown below. Then you should be aware that this is a warning sign of fraudulent activity.
A scammer can try to clone the exact mailing technique of an organization but cannot try cloning the information in the security details of that organization. Instead what you see looks like the one right image above.
3. Sense of Urgency: When you notice that words such as “quickly”, and “before this particular time”, are being used in a mail, be aware that this could be a phishing attempt.
4. Grammatical errors: some scammers can be so intelligent and avoid this. But having a lot of grammatical errors in a mail shows that the mail couldn’t have been from a standard place.
5. Request for sensitive information: this is the most important factor that determines if a mail is a phishing attempt or not, since this is the end goal of any phishing attempt.
How to Protect yourself from a Phishing attack
1. When in doubt of the authenticity of a mail try to reach out to the organization involved via other channels such as their social media handle, or their telephone, to verify if the email address is theirs.
2. On no account should you share sensitive information on your accounts to any person through the mail unless you’re 100% sure it’s genuine and this should be in a situation where you’re trying to gain access to your account, probably after your account got hacked, and more details have to be presented to make sure you’re the real owner.
Be aware that no one is immune to a phishing attack. But, If you can follow the guidelines above religiously then you will be less vulnerable to it.
Stay safe and vigilant. I can’t wait to write to you soon.