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Don’t sleep with the phishes…

At Real Time Consultants we’re proud of our organisation-wide attention to cyber security. We work with some of the best infosec minds in the business, for some of the leading UK public and private sector teams, and we know this topic is not to be taken lightly.

As today is known as ‘Black Friday’, one of the most popular pre-Christmas online shopping days in the calendar, it is more likely than ever that people in our network will receive marketing emails and messaging; some of which they’ll want to engage with; so what is a phishing email and why is it relevant?

A phishing email is a message that is purposefully designed to appear like a legitimate message, but with one innocent client, will actually download a small file to your machine, or direct you to a page to elicit personal / financial details from you to enable criminal activity. You may well have received the odd phishing text through the pandemic, however phishing emails are becoming incredible sophisticated.

How to avoid Phishing Attacks?

Configure your account to reduce spam visibility

Spam protection is improving, whether system-wide configuration or personal inbox adjustment, you can proactively filter and reduce your exposure to nasty mails with a few adjustments in your settings

Operate with caution

Have you received an invoice that you don’t recall? Has an ‘urgent’ message got an unfamiliar name attached? Or with your own emails – perhaps you might add ‘we will never ask you to [x]’ to improve confidence on the part of your recipients too.

Check for the key phishing signs

Check the from email address very carefully, is it the actual domain for the provider? Also carefully checking the grammar and terminology used – often phishing emails can come from overseas and the translation may be a little clumsy in places. Finally if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is! Best to proactively look up any messages at their source, rather than follow a thread direct from the email.

Report anything suspicious

Almost all mail inboxes will have a ‘block’ or ‘label as phishing / spam’ feature. If you’re certain your message is malicious, block it and not only will you not receive mail to your own inbox from that sender, but it will flag the message to the ISP, increasing the chances of a system wide blacklist for the digital perpetrator.

Check your digital footprint

Attackers use anything in the public domain they can to make their message seem more legitimate – the extent they’ll go to can be very far reaching. You’ll know yourself that if they¬†appear to have details that are known only to a few, that vastly increases their chances of engagement, and encouraging the recipient to believe they are legitimate. If you are careful with the content you reveal online, you can reduce your scope for being taken advantage of.

Phishing is on the up and mail server administrators / ISPs will always be on an upward hill battle to keep up and distinguish legitimate emails from the more sinister kind. Check out the https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/ website for more information if you’re interested in finding out more about phishing or other aspects of cyber security. Otherwise if you’re looking for a cyber security job or specialist cyber security recruitment support, you’ve come to the right place – contact our teams today.