Gone are the days of being able to easily identify a phishing or scam email, as these are usually caught by our spam filters or move straight into our junk folders.  More and more we need to be vigilant against every email we receive into our inbox as we see increasing threats from hackers.  Today’s blog we want to encourage you to form the habit of answering the following 3 questions for every email you receive.

  1. Was I expecting an email from this individual?

Is this an email on a subject that you have been dealing with this individual previously or an ongoing piece of work you are collaborating on?  If the answer is yes, you are not completely safe yet.  Hackers can be very patient people and will sit and monitor an inbox and will try and learn the type of emails this person may send or that you may receive.  They can even spoof or gain access to this individuals mailbox to make the email look even more genuine.  If the answer is no, pick up the phone and give the individual a call.  It will take you only a few minutes to double check with the individual, but think of the hours of downtime you might save if you have avoided allowing a cyber attack to infiltrate your organisation.

  1. Do I usually receive emails with attachments from this individual?

Is this something which you usually receive attached to an email?  If the answer is yes, has it come at the usual time and day?  Is the file format what you are expecting?  If not, the same solution applies to give the individual a call to check if they meant to send this to you.

  1. Do I usually receive attachments like this?

What we mean by this is, if it’s an invoice do you usually work with invoices and receive them?  Or a quotation or purchase order?  Is it a document you usually receive and work with, if not then question why it’s been sent to you and give the individual in question a call.

As you can see, the same check is relevant to all three questions, just to pick up the phone and give the individual a call to double check this was meant to be sent to you.  At the end of the day, the worst that can happen is you have a chat with them and maybe even discuss what they’ve sent you or what you’re working on, and in the best case scenario, one phone call saves the whole organisation from the threat of a cyber attack.

If you have any questions about phishing or spam emails, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at MJD.  No question is a stupid question when it comes to protecting your company from a cyber attack.