Hook, Line And Sinker: How To Recognise And Avoid Cloud Phishing
Cloud phishing is becoming increasingly common, which, unfortunately, means it’s becoming more sophisticated.
While you might think you’ve seen it all between comically transparent email scams and dodgy links to malicious websites, the fact is that every day approximately 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent out to the masses to varying success.
Some phishes are indeed easier to detect than others, but with such a colossal volume of scams being generated, many will inevitably catch the bait.
What is a phishing attack?
Phishing is a cybercrime that uses cloud technology to encourage receivers to click on fake websites and links.
Usually targeted via email or text message, the criminal’s objective is to steal personal information such as bank details, credit card data and login credentials or to convince their victims to download malware or malicious software that will corrupt their devices.
There is a broad range of risks to your organisation if you are unaware of the signs and are unprotected against cloud phishing campaigns.
Especially with the technological advancements in AI, cyber attackers can convincingly disguise themselves as well-known companies and organisations, making phishing attacks much more difficult to detect.
So, let’s look at some of the tell-tale signs of phishing email scams and how to avoid them so you can feel confident in your company’s security in the face of uncertainty.
How to recognise phishing scams
There are several different types of these phishing attempts and scams to watch out for. While some are much easier to spot than others, any of them have the same signs to look out for and be aware of so you can avoid taking their nasty bait.
1. Check who the email is addressed to
Not all phishing messages and attacks are organised and sent out in the same way.
Spear phishing is when the attacker targets you or your organisation directly, whereas mass-scale phishing attacks target a wider range of people and are more impersonal.
Spear phishing can be pretty convincing as they may already have access to private and sensitive information about your company, making you feel like you can trust them.
It’s important to ask yourself how the sender may have your email address and if it’s triggering your spam filters.
2. Verify the sender address
Make sure to check the sender’s email address for suspicious emails or questionable emails.
Is someone unusually high up in an established company contacting you? Why would someone in this position be sending you an email personally?
Google the email address to see if you can find any information online about the email address being a scam.
Another way to note if the email address is dodgy is by checking for inconsistencies in the email address, link, and domain name. Common examples include scammers using y0utube.com or you-tube.com instead of youtube.com.
In some cases, Googling the email won’t give you any further clues, so it’s important to check against previous correspondence to see if it lines up with your original email on record.
3. Scaremongering and urgent requests
If you receive an email attempting to threaten or bribe you, it’s likely that internal alarm bells will immediately start going off.
This is a common tactic used by phishing criminals to try and trick users and frighten people into carrying out their desired action by clicking a link.
While some people have grown wise to these online threats, not everyone is as in tune with the use of urgent demands and requests.
Scammers are trying to elicit a sense of urgency and panic in the recipient so they don’t have time to think before they react, making it difficult to question whether the email or link is legitimate before it’s too late.
4. Spelling and grammatical errors
Perhaps the most obvious sign of a phishing attack is if you receive an email that is full of spelling and grammatical errors.
Of course, this does not mean that you should discriminate against non-native English speakers when communicating online. Instead, if you open an email that is out of context from an unknown source, contains a suspicious link, and is poorly written, then it’s best not to engage.
5. Sounds too good to be true
If you’ve long been searching for a solution to whatever problem your organisation has been facing, and all of a sudden, a kind stranger arrives in your inbox offering everything you need and more at an unbelievable price, the likelihood is that it is precisely that – not to be believed!
If scammers want to steal significant and vital data from your organisation, you might be the focus of a targeted attack. They may already have an in-depth knowledge of your company, what you’re working on, and how you’re trying to get there.
Always be wary of oddly specific offers that seem too good to be true because odds are, they’re looking to take something from you that could be detrimental to the stability of your organisation.
6. Requesting personal information or bank details
Scamming money from people and getting access to bank accounts is one of the most common motives for phishing attacks.
Never give out login details, credit card numbers, bank account credentials, or sensitive information online.
If you get an email out of the blue from what appears to be a credible source requesting any of the above, always call the source in question directly and ask if they sent it and why.
How can you avoid phishing attacks?
It’s essential to familiarise yourself with the new phishing attack methods happening most frequently and know the warning signs.
Be vigilant, take a moment before you react and always ask a reliable source if you’re unsure about the legitimacy of any email or text messages you receive.
You can also adopt a multi-layered approach as advised by the National Cyber Security Centre, which involves putting a system in place to make it difficult for attackers to reach your inbox and help you protect yourself from phishing attacks on a basic level.
But the most important and effective way to avoid phishing attacks and their catastrophic effects is by investing in a cloud backup and data protection solution.
This not only protects you against malware in the first place, but also ensures your sensitive data is also securely backed up in the case of a disaster.
How can BackupVault protect you against a potential phishing scam?
We provide reliable, UK-based data protection and cloud backup solutions for businesses of all sizes worldwide.
Our sophisticated technologies are razor-sharp in detecting phishing attacks before they even become a problem, so you don’t have to worry about the security of your company’s critical data.