According to researchers, social engineering is the largest contributor to malware attacks. Statistics show that 99% of all email attacks rely on leading victims into clicking a link that ends up being malicious.
These attacks can affect anyone, and they can be especially disastrous for a company, especially if sensitive information such as passwords or confidential information is leaked.
If you want to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands, you need to be able to tell the difference between a fake malicious email and genuine correspondence from a trusted source.
What is social engineering and why is it dangerous?
Social engineering is the use of malicious software that deceives the receiver into giving up sensitive information that may then be used for corrupt or illegal purposes.
Many of these attacks are disguised under an email that looks genuine but requires some form of human interaction for the software to take effect. These actions may include clicking on links, downloading an application or even opening files.
The danger of social engineering is that it can be difficult to tell the malicious campaigns apart from genuine emails. As technology evolves and people become more aware of scams, attacks become more sophisticated and harder to detect. This type of email attack is called phishing.
Malicious emails may pretend to come from more trusted sources such as Amazon, Google or even your colleague. They often mimic the voice and style of a business email to increase the chances that a worker will treat it as legitimate.
How to spot a malicious email
There are many factors seen among malicious emails. Here are three of the most common tell-tale signs that you should be looking out for:
1) Urgent and unexpected
If you have received an important email that you must respond to out of the blue, proceed with caution. Phishing attacks capitalise on the sense of urgency and importance in hopes that you divulge information without thinking about your actions.
If you are unsure about whether the email you received is legitimate or not, send a new email to the person messaging you and have a look at their response.
2) Suspicious link
Links are the primary method that attackers use to steal your data. Reputable sources such as Google or Netflix will never make you click on a suspicious link and attempt to make you enter your login details.
If you feel like you might be under attack, go to the website’s homepage and enter your details directly.
3) Hidden destinations
Some links may hide the destination they take you to, making it harder for you to find the source of the link. This can make it especially dangerous if you accidentally click the link and end up being redirected to an illegal website.
The best way to find out the destination is to hover over the link and check the URL. You can then judge for yourself whether you want to click the link or not.
Protect your business against malware attacks
Businesses are now heavily reliant upon technology to help speed up their internal processes. The problem with this is that it opens your company up to security vulnerabilities that hackers can easily exploit.
If you don’t want your business to fall victim to social engineering attacks, it’s important to start protecting your IT systems. Our team of experts can analyse your internal processes and help design data security measures that are tailored to your business. Find out more about how our security services can help you.