Phishing emails have been around for decades, yet they’re still one of the more effective online scams. They continue to become increasing harder to recognize, but it’s easier when you know some common red flags to watch out for.


What Are Phishing Emails

As the name implies, phishing emails literally “fish” for information. This could be login details, financial information, sensitive business files, or anything else a hacker thinks they could use or sell.

Hackers use a variety of methods to dupe people into clicking links, providing details, and even downloading attachments from these fake emails. Phishing emails are designed to carefully mimic trusted senders, such as a business, co-worker, manager, friend, or relative. This is why people open and trust them. They seem legitimate at first glance.

Most phishing emails do contain some red flags employees should look for, such as:

  • Grammar mistakes
  • A suspicious domain in the sender (check beyond just the sender’s name)
  • A sense of urgency in the message
  • Threats to expose something or take away something, such as no overtime pay or vacation time
  • An unexpected attachment, especially from someone they don’t usually get attachments from
  • A request for sensitive data, especially logins
  • Messages or attachments from unknown sources
  • Messages from co-workers they don’t usually interact with

However, if a single employee clicks a malicious link in one of these emails, it could compromise every other user. A link or attachment can contain malware, ransomware, or just expose credentials that give hackers access to your entire network. Data security management is designed to help protect users from falling for these cleverly disguised scams, thus protecting your data.


How Hackers Disguise Email Attachments

It’s become more common knowledge to avoid opening any email attachments that end in .exe. However, in a business setting, image and document files are used so often that no one thinks twice about opening them.

Hackers disguise email attachments by first spoofing an email to make it seem like it’s coming from a co-worker or client. Then, they include an attachment to a Microsoft Office document, a PDF, or JPG file that needs the recipient’s immediate attention. Adding a sense of urgency to the message makes recipients more likely to open the attachment.

Despite what the extension might look like, it’s an executable file. When someone tries to open it, malicious code transfers to the user’s device instead. Even if an actual image or document opens, this is just a disguise to hide the executable buried within the file.

Data security consulting helps your business safeguard against malicious attachments. Together, your business and an expert team creates a security solution that prevents hackers from gaining access to your business’s data through disguised email attachments.


How to Proactively Guard Against Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are still one of the top cybersecurity threats to businesses. Whether it’s a targeted attack or just general phishing, employees fall for it all too often. That’s why your business needs to implement the following best practices IT service providers use:

  • Implement sophisticated security solutions to catch payload-based attacks before they reach recipients.
  • Use machine learning security solutions to block increasing advanced phishing tactics in headers and email content.
  • Train employees on common red flags.
  • Always check the sender’s full email address.
  • Scan all attachments before opening anything.
  • Run simulated phishing attacks to help train employees.
  • Advise employees to double-check with senders before clicking a link or opening an attachment if they’re uncertain.
  • Implement full end-to-end protection to protect against all types of cybersecurity threats.

A proactive approach is the best defense against phishing emails. GSDSolutions offers data security management solutions to help businesses fight back against phishing threats and protect sensitive data from determined hackers.


Want to Learn More?

Give our team at GSDSolutions IT Services a call at (650) 282-7695, or drop us an email at to learn more about our services and how we can help you put a robust managed IT service program strategy in place for your business. We offer Managed IT Services, Data Security Services and Virtual Event Management Service, with a predictable cost model and a commitment to customer satisfaction. From implementing new cybersecurity protocols for a hybrid workforce to ensuring you’re using hardware that is optimal for your business’s goals, GSDSolutions can help your business “Get Stuff Done”!

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