5 Steps To Easily Spot Phishing And Scam Work Emails | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

It’s midweek, or a Friday, and you’re interrupted in a meeting or some other task at work by an urgent email labelled as important. It demands your immediate attention…or else, your job, customers, company reputation, or even your workspace account, is on the line.

Frantically, you open the email and are threatened into believing that you need to take action now. You’ve seen so many other urgent emails from colleagues with last-minute deadlines, even from your boss, so this seems like nothing out of the ordinary. You click on it and open the link or attachment, only to realize that you’ve just exposed the data on your work laptop to cyber criminals who have no rights to access the private information. Or perhaps your laptop is compromised and some of the software stops working.

This is exactly what we know as cyber attacks. Cybersecurity attacks come in a wide variety of forms. They can range from ransomware (a software that can unsuspectingly be downloaded and then locks you out until you pay a ransom), to Trojan horses (where a malicious computer program is hidden behind a a seemingly safe and legitimate one), to phishing emails (where emails are deceptively worded to trick you into revealing sensitive information).

Research conducted by Comparitech, in which 100 countries with the highest GDP were researched (but only 16 reported monetary values), shows that an estimated 88.5 million fall victim to cybercrimes globally. The same research noted that although an estimated $714 billion is lost to cybercrime each year, experts anticipate figures reaching an eye-watering $10.5 trillion by 2025. For businesses in particular, looking back at 2022, data breaches cost businesses $4.35 million on average.

This explains why cybersecurity is one of the most in-demand skills. Half of the top tech skills listed as skill trends in Coursera’s Job Skills Of 2024 report are cybersecurity skills, ranking in the top 10, with almost 3.4 million jobs in this field available worldwide.

However, while cybersecurity is ultimately everyone’s responsibility at work, it is of particular relevance to current and aspiring business leaders. Although it may be tempting to quickly skip through the yearly cybersecurity refresher training because other management responsibilities are more pressing, it’s essential to pay critical attention to the details of the training provided, whether you are in the IT department or not.

At the World Economic Forum’s convention in Davos held from January 15 to January 19, 2024, Bloomberg reported JP Morgan executive Mary Callahan Erdoes to have said: “The fraudsters get smarter, savvier, quicker, more devious, more mischievous.”

Maintaining the basic rules of keeping your company data and regularly reiterating them to your team ensures that not only is your team safe from being exposed to unauthorized access, but that projects are better protected from risk. Without being aware of these common traps, you risk exposing jobs, company reputation, and even your own reputation as a leader to these threats, not to mention the irretrievable damage of the millions of dollars thrown away.

As noted above, one of the easiest ways cyber criminals gain unauthorized access to company data is by sending phishing emails. If you’re in a hurry or innocently unsuspecting, you might click on it not realizing what is happening, and by the time you do, it might be too late.

So how can you spot fake or phishing emails at work? Here are five easy steps:


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National Cyber Security