As you've probably heard, phishing is one of the most often-used techniques hackers use to break into devices or computer systems. And as you've also probably heard, the best defense against phishing attacks is to use "common sense." But what does that actually look like?
This article will show you some tell-tale signs that the email you just received might be a phishing scam.
Phishing Email Red Flags
Irrelevant or Unexpected Subject Line
If the subject line of the email is odd or doesn't pertain to the body of the email, it is a definite red flag. Also, if you don't know what the subject means, or if it's related to something you never requested or purchased, it's a red flag.
If you're unfamiliar with the sender, it's a red flag. You should only ever open and read emails from people or organizations that you're familiar with. The rest are probably spam or worse. If the sender really needs to reach you, they will find another method of communication.
Unknown CCed Email Addresses
Related to the above red flag, if you are unfamiliar with the email addresses being CCed on any email, it's a red flag that you should be wary of. Even if you are familiar with the sender.
Email Sent Out of "Normal" Hours
If you receive an email in the middle of the night, it could be a red flag. Note that this is not necessarily always the case as some businesses have automated emails that may be sent out very late at night or early in the morning. However, you should definitely pay closer attention to the details in these emails to make sure they aren't phishing attacks.
Any email containing attachments that you weren't expecting to receive is a red flag. Never open email attachments unless you know the contents of the attachment.
Prompts to Click Links or Open Attachments
Hackers will often make the email seem urgent. And they will make it seem like you have to click a link or open an attachment to avoid some negative consequence. Don't fall for this! This is the hacker's bait that they use to hook and reel you in.
Lastly, look for typos in the subject, body, and in any hyperlinks found in the email. Misspellings are another red flag for phishing scams.
Also, before you click on any link, mouse over the link to make sure it will take you to where you think it will take you. If it shows a different website, this is another big red flag.