You’re no stranger to the endless threats lurking in your email inbox. But have you ever considered that an email that seems to be from Microsoft could end up being your worst nightmare?
Microsoft, the tech giant we all know and trust, has become the most imitated brand when it comes to phishing attacks. That’s where cybercriminals send you an email that contains a malicious link or file. They’re trying to steal your data.
And while Microsoft isn't to blame for this, you and your employees need to be on high alert for anything that seems suspicious.
During the second quarter of 2023, Microsoft soared to the top spot of brands imitated by criminals, accounting for a whopping 29% of brand phishing attempts.
This places it well ahead of Google in second place (at 19.5%) and Apple in third place (at 5.2%). Together, these three tech titans account for more than half of the observed brand imitator attacks.
But what does this mean for your business?
Despite a clear surge in fake emails targeting millions of Windows and Microsoft 365 customers worldwide, careful observation can help protect you from identity theft and fraud attacks.
Whilst the most imitated brands change from quarter to quarter, cyber criminals are less likely to change their tactics.
They use legitimate-looking logos, colors, and fonts. Phishing scams frequently use domains or URLs that are similar to the real deal. But a careful scan of these, along with the content of any messages, will often expose typos and errors – the tell-tale signs of a phishing attack.
One of the latest attacks claims there has been unusual Microsoft account sign-in activity on your account, directing you to a malicious link. These links are designed to steal everything from login credentials to payment details.
And whilst tech firms continue to be popular scam subjects, many cybercriminals have turned to financial services like online banking, gift cards, and online shopping orders. Wells Fargo and Amazon both rounded up the top five during Q2 2023, accounting for 4.2% and 4% of brand phishing attempts respectively.
What can you do to protect your business?
The answer is simpler than you might think. The best course of action when it comes to phishing is to slow down, observe, and analyze. Check for discrepancies in URLs, domains, and message text.
If we can help you keep your team aware of the risks, get in touch.
Have you heard the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words"? It seems cybercriminals have too, and they're using it to their advantage.
In a new twist on phishing campaigns, cybercriminals are luring victims to click on images rather than downloading malicious files or clicking suspicious links.
Let's dive into the warning signs, so you can keep your business safe from these sneaky attacks.
First things first, what's the big deal about clicking on an image? It might be promoting a killer deal or a one-time offer.
But when you click on the image, you don’t go to the real website. Instead, it’s a fake site designed to steal your personal information.
Imagine being lured in by a cute cat photo only to find out that Mr. Whiskers was actually a wolf in sheep's clothing! Not so cute anymore, right?
So, how can you tell if an image is part of a phishing campaign? Here are some warning signs to look out for:
- Unexpected emails: Did you receive an email from someone you don't know or weren't expecting? Be cautious! It's like accepting candy from a stranger – you never know what you're getting yourself into.
- Too good to be true: If an email promises you a free vacation or a million dollars just for clicking on an image, remember the golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Spelling and grammar mistakes: We all make typos, but if an email is riddled with errors, it could be a sign that something is going on.
- Mismatched logos or branding: If an email claims to be from a reputable company but the logo or branding doesn't match up, assume it’s a scam.
Now that you know what to look for, let's talk about how to protect your business from these image-based phishing attacks:
- Educate your employees: Knowledge is power! Make sure your team is aware of the latest phishing tactics and knows how to spot the warning signs.
- Keep software up-to-date: Just like you wouldn't drive a car with bald tires, don't let your software become outdated. Regular updates help patch security vulnerabilities that cybercriminals might exploit.
- Use strong passwords: It might be tempting to use "password123" for all your accounts, but resist the urge! A strong, unique password for each account can help prevent unauthorized access. Using a password manager is even better.
- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA): MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring people to verify their identity through another method, such as a text message or fingerprint scan.
- Backup your data: In case disaster strikes, make sure you have a backup of all your files. That way, you won't be left high and dry if your data is compromised.
Whilst cyber criminals are getting smarter and smarter with their tactics, there's no need to panic. By being aware of the warning signs and taking proactive steps to protect your business, you can stay one step ahead of these digital tricksters.
Remember, not all that glitters is gold – or in this case, not every cute cat picture is just a cute cat picture. Stay vigilant, and don't let the scammers win!
Check out our latest BlueCastle IT Tech Tip Video.
Can you guess which company was most impersonated in financial phishing emails last year? You’ve probably got an account with them yourself.
Watch this week’s tech tip video to find out how to keep your business protected from financial phishing scams.