Phishing Emails: The Leading Cause of Ransomware Attacks
Phishing Emails: The Leading Cause of Ransomware Attacks

It seems to be every day that we hear of a new business being compromised by a ransomware attack. The #1 point of entry for a ransomware infection is through a phishing email. Phishing emails are constantly being sent out to employees on what to look for to determine if an email is a phishing email. Here's some information on phishing attacks. 

What is a phishing attack?

There are a few different types of phishing attacks. A general phishing attack is the practice of sending emails that appear to be from trusted sources with the goal of gaining personal information or influencing the user to react. 

There are also lateral phishing attacks which are when an attacker uses a legitimate, compromised email account to send phishing emails. Targets might include people normally emailed from the compromised account.

What do scammers want to gain?

  • Money
  • Login credentials
  • Financial information
  • Your identity
  • Access to your data

What to look for

When receiving an email that could be a phishing email, it is important to first analyze the display name because many phishing emails falsify the display name. If an email says it is from Microsoft, it should be sent from a Microsoft email domain. If the domain of the sender is @yahoo.com, it is very likely that the display name was falsified. Beware of a new phishing attempt that targets Microsoft users

The same goes for signatures. It is essential to analyze who the signature claims the email is coming from and if this matches the domain of the sender. If an email lacks information on who sent it or how to contact the sender, it is likely a phishing email. 

Next, it is important to analyze the body of the email. If the email contains a lot of mistakes or does not use proper grammar, it likely isn't from the company it's saying it's from. Apple will not use improper grammar or misspell words when sending out emails representing their company. 

It is also essential to analyze the context of the email. If the email uses urging language and invokes a sense of fear or urgency, it is likely a phishing email. A common tactic of hackers is to create a sense of fear or urgency, so users are more likely to react. 

Always remember: don't trust everything you see. An email that contains brand logos, appropriate language and a proper greeting isn't always legitimate. Do not click on links or attachments that were not expected. Clicking them can cause you to fall victim to an attack. Hover over links to see where they are going. 

Another important thing to remember is to not disclose personal information over email. Companies that are legitimate will not send you emails asking for your social security number or for you to verify your login credentials through email. 

What we recommend

We recommend phishing detection, which is a real-time detection of webpages designed to gather password data. This can include phishing emails or pop-ups. We also recommend cybersecurity awareness training. A lack of awareness about cybersecurity and its importance is a major contributing factor to why businesses run into cybersecurity issues so frequently.

Nutmeg Technologies offers cybersecurity awareness training. Contact us for more information.