How to Identify and Stay Safe from Phishing Emails – Part 1


What is the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the biggest criminal threats in the UK at the moment? If you are thinking along the lines of physical crimes like theft or assault, think digital instead. More specifically, think phishing.

Phishing attacks are fast becoming one of the biggest concerns to businesses across the UK. This is because of the staggering amount of money which is being lost to fraud each year. New estimates suggest that many businesses are losing around 5% of their annual revenue to cyber fraud, which equates to an estimated £193 billion annually.

Understandably, you want to avoid your company contributing this figure. But, with attacks becoming so sophisticated, where do you start? The first step must be knowledge (or of course turn to Northern Star for help!). With this in mind, here are a few of the phishing attacks which are likely to be aimed at your company:

4 Common Types of Phishing Attack

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1. Email Phishing
Probably the most common form of phishing attack is the email attack. In this approach, scammers will send emails in which they impersonate a company in an attempt to obtain the personal details of their targets.

An example of this would be if you received an email from your bank discussing a problem with your account. The email would contain a link which would appear to point to the bank’s website, but it would actually take you to a fake site. If you were to input your login details on this site, you would be giving them directly to the scammers.

2. Spear Phishing
Spear phishing is similar although it is more specific in its approach. While email phishing randomly targets its victims, spear phishing is customised. These emails will contain details about the victim in an attempt to seem more legitimate.

This information is often available on social media, and scammers often use these sites to make contact. The goal, however, is still the theft of personal details.

3. Google Phishing
Scammers are becoming increasingly fond of Google due to the fact that one set of login details opens up all of a user’s accounts. In fact, the Google phishing scam has been one of the biggest threats of the year thus far.

This is down to how legitimate it looks. With all the scam’s graphics looking exactly like Google’s official imagery, it takes a very sharp user to identify the email as a scam.

4. Pharming
Because users are growing more aware of traditional phishing techniques, certain scammers are turning away from defrauding businesses and electing to defraud their customers instead. For this, they use pharming.

Pharming attacks hijack your company’s site and instead direct your customers to a fraudulent site. This site looks just like yours, but offers the hackers direct access to your customers’ details. Moreover, any online payments made by your customers go to the hackers responsible for the scam.

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Increase Web Security by Staying Alert

These are some common forms of phishing, and knowing a bit more about them is the first step to avoiding being victimised by scammers. But, just being able to identify them is not going to ensure that you stay protected.

Join us for Part 2 of this look at phishing, where we will give you a few tips on how to stay safe from phishing emails.

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