Despite the advantages of adopting marketing automation, the risk of phishing emails doesn’t lessen. In fact, according to Infosecurity Magazine:
Automation resulted in a 30% increase in success rate of cybercriminals
The blame comes on machine learning programs that process data faster and create targeted email campaigns. Cybercriminals are adopting machine learning just as fast as businesses are turning to analytics and machine learning platforms. The more personalized marketing campaigns are getting, so is Email Phishing. Spear phishing is a malicious practice with not so very good intentions which can sometimes be quite harmful in many ways. It’s a strange but quite threatening reality we are living in right now!It is no secret that brands want to launch automation campaigns that are targeted and personalized.
With marketing automation features that include automated drip campaigns that are behaviour-based, intuitive landing pages, social media presence, dynamic contact list segmentation, etc. brands are now focussing on establishing a brand-customer relationship. And to do this, email automation aids the most.It is no secret that brands want to launch automation campaigns that are targeted and personalized. With marketing automation features that include automated drip campaigns that are behaviour-based, intuitive landing pages, social media presence, dynamic contact list segmentation, etc. brands are now focussing on establishing a brand-customer relationship. And to do this, email automation aids the most.
Phishing Emails are evolving!
The first quarter of 2016 witnessed a dramatic rise of phishing emails with malicious attachments. By the end of 2015, the number of phishing scams began to grow. By the end of Q1 2016, this growth took a sharp upturn.In an alert issued on April 4th this year, FBI warned about the dramatic increase in business email scams and phishing scams.
These so-called “CEO Scams” are emails sent from an identity that poses to be the CEO, a company attorney or a trusted vendor. According to this alert, the average loss per scam is more than $25,000, to say the least. With over 79 countries along with the United states. filing complaints of phishing emails, it is important to get acquainted with tips to avoid such scams.
Defense Mechanism for Companies
The best way to avoid phishing attacks, companies are blocking malicious emails with DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance) standards. These emails are blocked by the companies even before they reach the inboxes of their users email address. Courtesy the growing amount of threats, especially on personal data like account numbers or credit card details or sensitive information, brands must join hands with a vendor capable of providing email threat intelligence data. Such data will give brands more details about such attacks that go beyond the DMARC. For instance, scams that use stains a brand by using domains outside the company’s control. Looks like they would not stop but surely there are a lot of ways to dodge them!
These phishing attempts try their phishing scams in various ways which is why it is important to control them in all possible ways. In worst cases they might get access to your bank details and account number or credit card details which they can try and hack which is a very serious threat to your account balance. It can also be about getting access to your private or sensitive information which in wrong hands can be held as a potential threat against you.
The best way to avoid email phishing attacks is through implementation of proper DMARC records.
Despite so many efforts, some phishing emails do end up in the users’ inboxes. These messages are so compelling and convincing that over 97 percent of users agree to have believed them. These days, phishing email is designed in highly sophisticated ways that eliminates any chances of suspicion.
11 Tips to Identify Phishing Emails
This means the need of the hour is to educate users about the minute pointers that can save them from falling for a phishing email. Here are eleven tips that can come handy for everyone.
#1. The display name can be fake
One of the most preferred ways to fake is the display name of an email. It has been researched and revealed that most of the phishing attacks spoof the brand in the display name of the email. For instance, supposedly a fraudster wants to spoof a bank. Let’s assume the bank name to be “my bank”. The email will look something like this:
Now, “secure.com” domain is not owned by My Bank. Although My Bank has set the DMARC policy to reject emails that fail to authenticate, this email will not get blocked. When this email reaches the user’s inbox, it will be difficult for the user to identify it as a scam. This is because you only see the display name in your inbox. This can be done in the text message form as well so it applies there too!
Display names can be fake. It is important to check the email address in the header ‘from’. If the email looks suspicious, ignore or delete the email asap. I think we all have seen a number of such emails on a larger scale in our inboxes when carefully observed these days!
#2. Check before you click
Before you click on an in-mail link or text message link, make sure you hover your mouse over it. See if the link looks suspicious. You can also test the link. Just open a new tab and type out the website address. You will know whether this is malicious or not immediately. This can be used to hack your data or send in some malware, spyware or any other harmful virus into your system or devices.
High alert advice: Do not click on links that look suspicious.
#3. Spelling mistakes are unforgivable!
No brand will risk making a brand impression with spell errors. Spell and grammar errors are a strong pointer to a scam email. Same is the case with grammatical errors. The main highlight is, a brand will never make such mistakes. So, if you see a spelling error or feel the grammar be odd, report immediately. What brand would like to taint their name with unprofessional approach via email which can cause disappointment of customers in them with spelling errors. It’s a very high aspect of email itself so unless their motive isn’t to keep their customers satisfied and happy it’s definitely a phish!
#4. Addressed to “Valued Customer”? Avoid
Personalisation is being taken very seriously by brands. Every brand is trying to incorporate personalization into their email campaigns to connect better with their users. If your email is addressed to a “Valued Customer” rather than you (addressed to you by your name), you know it’s a scam.
#5. Refrain from sharing personal details
Legitimate brands and banks will never ask for your personal information in emails without any valid reason or proof. Any email that requires you to reply with sensitive personal information just put them into trash asap. They might ask you for your credit card information or bank account details as such. They might sound convincing but it is always recommended to have a suspicion and cross verify their authenticity.
#6. “Urgent” emails are a threat
Why would a brand try to scare you? A brand will always be humble! That’s how customer support works. So, if you see an email with a subject line that invokes a sense of urgency or fear, beware those are probably phishing scams. Looks like it is not very urgent nor important. This is just an attempt to play with the reader’s mind.
#7. Look out for the signature
Legitimate brands will always include their name or contact details. They would always want their users to communicate with them. This is standard for all of them. If you see no signature or weird signature, then it is a phishing scam. Make sure to always notice this part when you receive an email.
#8. Review before you click on attachments
Phish emails mostly contain malicious attachments that contain viruses and malware. These can damage your computer, get access to your passwords or spy on your web activities without your knowledge. Do not open attachments about which you have no idea or you are not expecting to receive.
#9. Email domains can be spoofed too!
Not just display names, but also the email domains can be spoofed. Fraudsters manipulate email domains. So, you need to be extra careful.
For example; you have an account with PayPal and you are receiving an email from email of format @payypal.com about resent of your password; then, you must check the email sender domain name before you take any action.
#10. Everything you see is not real
Phishing is not that easy to detect. Fraudsters are pretty good at camouflaging their manipulations. The email address may seem valid, and the display name might look real- but they may not be legitimate. Having a skeptical approach to unknown emails or text message is safe. Many a time fraud/phishing email appear to be sent from Government organizations, nonprofits and well known company brands/persons.
#11. Browse the Internet from Anti-phishing Enabled Browser
Last but not least you must browse the internet or open any links from the email into browsers which have built-in protection to alert about phishing email/ links; the range of these safe browsers include Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox Mozilla, Safari, and Chrome.
How Phishing Emails Impact Email Marketing?
Due to the implication of DMARC standards, mailbox providers have also started to implement this format to their mailbox users and have begun showing information about the authenticated security of the received email domains. So, going forward, email marketers should also lay emphasis about the implementation of DMARC standards to their sending domain names. Further, marketers should also confirm with their respective email service providers to encourage the use of DMARC standard in sending emails to prove they are not in the email phishing business.
Having DMARC standard followed correctly on email sending domains increases the probability of the email landing in the inbox of the subscriber.
If you get an email that looks remotely suspicious, ditch it immediately and feel free to mark those suspicious emails as spam. Better safe than regretting!