Phishing emails are sent by an attacker with the intention of tricking an individual or organization so that they can steal valuable information like passwords or credit card numbers. This article provides “phishing email examples” to internet users so they can learn the tricks used by hackers to steal their valuable information.
The act of phishing email is still on the rise and evolving, with many individuals and organizations being successfully enticed, only to realize it when it’s too late and a lot of confidential information has been compromised. Phishing emails can be targeted or sent to millions of potential victims to trick them to log in to fake versions of very popular websites.
Despite the attackers’ methods of bypassing email filters now being more sophisticated, phishing may only happen when one has no prior knowledge of email phishing protection and is not updated on the different tactics employed by cybercriminals to steal user data and information. The best phishing protection is to study examples that are captured in the wild.
Some of the most common phishing emails examples that happened in real-time are:
- An email from a very reputable person (a professor) offering part-time assistant work to his students. The bad guy responsible for the attack did his/her homework well to the extent of using the professor’s real office information in the signature. Like most phishing emails, the attacker mimicked the email of a known sender, although a hacked account can also be used.
One way of how to stop phishing emails of this nature is by not engaging in the action that the email directs.
- Another phishing email example was a message from human resources where the attacker used every effort and skill to make the email message appear legitimate. The sender’s email address was faked to appear to come from the campus HR department and the document link led to a fake login page. The best phishing protection against such an email is to never click an attachment, a link, or a download file, that one did not expect, especially when it comes from an unknown source.
- An email was sent with an instruction to download an attached PDF file that contained a link that required password authentication. Many unsuspecting campus recipients clicked the “download file” instruction, giving away credentials that the attacker wanted for future use. Attachments are most desirable by the attackers because there is a low chance of antivirus detection, (since . HTML files are not commonly associated with email-borne attacks) and are most commonly used by banks and other well-reputed companies.
Thus, not being in a haste to click on any download link in an email without first looking closely at the senders’ details is a good email phishing protection.
- One may receive an email with a notice that the password will expire, and be provided with a link to change their password. The link will usually redirect to a different and malicious website where the attacker steals one’s data and information.
- Online service providers may message their customers when they detect unusual or worrisome activity on their users’ accounts like a “new or unusual sign-in/login from another device” email. Since most service providers have this security feature, the attackers have taken this to their advantage and designed poorly written emails with bad grammar; or at times legitimate enough to convince their targets. These emails contain links which the attacker intends to use to steal user data.
What Do Phishing Emails Do?
The most common entry point for hackers to carry out a phishing attack online is through imposter or phishing emails, and they don’t have to know much coding to conduct this. Since mass phishing emails are slightly easier to detect than low-volume, the attackers are now smartly personalizing their targets to three to four employees.
Phishing emails are hard to spot, look real, and can have devastating consequences. They are intended to cause the receiver of the email to be either alarmed (through the delivery of very important information that requires immediate action), or excited (that they have received money), and click a link that leads to the installation of malware on the recipient’s system.
Tips on How to Mitigate Phishing Emails Attacks
- Using strict (and enforced) security policies and a robust awareness program in an organization, in all sections and ranks, is one sure way of mitigating phishing attacks.
- Individuals and companies should always be cautious of emails, purporting to be from reputable organizations that provide links that redirect them to malicious websites. They should take a close look at the sender’s name since most companies use a single domain in their address. One thing to note is that reputable companies will also not ask for sensitive data like passwords and credit card numbers from their customers.
- Since legitimate companies often employ proofreaders and editors to ensure their materials are error-free, users should be on the lookout for any grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in an email, and also avoid clicking any links, or download files that seem suspicious.
- Another tip on how to mitigate phishing attacks is for users to use advanced anti-phishing software or the in-built protection of their clients (as many web services and email applications offer good security) to filter messages. Installing anti-phishing tools is the first barrier against most common attempts.
4 Common Types of Phishing Attacks ppt
Email Spoofing (name impersonation)
This can be done by sending an email through a familiar name, impersonating superiors, and asking for some important data, or impersonating a reputable organization and asking employees to share internal data.
Mass Target (Brand Impersonation)
Sent to a group of people with some common interest based on their brand preferences and choice.
Attackers use the phishing page’s URL to infect the target. This can be done by hiding phishing baits in clickable links, for example, using URL shortening tools to make it look authentic, or by misspelled URLs.
This type of phishing attack is aimed at non-technical people who don’t understand the difference between a domain and a subdomain. Attackers take advantage of the fact that anyone can use any well-known domain as a subdomain and therefore place phishing links in these subdomains.
Finally, it’s rather easy to fall victim to the different types of phishing if one has no knowledge of email phishing protection. Therefore, incorporating training and awareness into the organization is paramount. Because only a fraction of a company is information-secure professionals, they should build rapport with the other departments and make them aware of the various phishing email examples, and how they can avoid falling victim and putting the whole organization at stake.