Can You Spot a “Suspicious” Email?

Can You Spot a “Suspicious” Email?

One wrong click can expose your entire network to a serious breach.  Here’s how to spot “suspicious” emails.

You can avoid some of the risk by taking a little extra time to read each email.  Pay attention to these fields:

TO:

  • I was cc’d on an email sent to one or more people, but I don’t personally know the other people it was sent to.
  • I received an email that was also sent to an unusual mix of people. For instance a seemingly random group of people at your organization whose last names start with the same letter, or a whole list of unrelated addresses.

FROM:

  • I don’t recognize the sender’s email address as someone I ordinarily communicate with.
  • This email is from someone outside my organization and it’s not related to my job responsibilities.
  • This email was sent from someone inside the organization or from a customer, vendor, or partner and is very unusual or out of character.
  • Is the sender’s email address from a suspicious domain? (like micorsoft-support.om)
  • I don’t know the sender personally and they were not vouched for by someone I trust.
  • I don’t have a business relationship nor any past communications with the sender.
  • This is an unexpected or unusual email with an embedded hyperlink or an attachment from someone I hadn’t communicated with recently.

DATE:

  • Did I receive an email that I normally would get during regular business hours, but it was sent at an unusual time like 3 a.m.?

SUBJECT:

  • Did I get an email with a subject line that is irrelevant or does not match the content?
  • Is the email message a reply to something I never sent or requested?

ATTACHMENTS:

  • The sender included an email attachment that I was not expecting or that makes no sense in relation to the email message. (This sender doesn’t ordinarily send me these types of attachment(s).)
  • I see an attachment with a possibly dangerous file type. The only file type that is always safe to click on is a .TXT file.)

CONTENT:

  • Is the sender asking me to click on a link or open an attachment to avoid a negative consequence, or to gain something of value?
  • Is the email out of the ordinary, or does it have bad grammar or spelling errors?
  • Is the sender asking me to click a link or open up an attachment that seems odd or illogical?
  • Do I have an uncomfortable gut feeling about the sender’s request to open an attachment or click a link?
  • Is the email asking me to look at a compromising or embarrassing picture of myself or someone I know?

HYPERLINKS:

  • I hover my mouse over a hyperlink that’s displayed in the email message, but the link to address is for a different web site. (This is a big red flag.)
  • I received an email that only has long hyperlinks with no further information and the rest of the email is completely blank.
  • I received an email with a hyperlink that is a misspelling of a known web site. For instance, www.bankofarnerica.com – the “m” is really two characters – “r & n”).

Here’s a summary from KnowBe4: download the graphic.

CRU Solutions can teach your team to be safer online.  Contact us!