If you haven’t read our posts on how to recognize phishing emails and the danger of PDF files, you should go do that after reading this post.  According to Appriver, email phishing campaigns reached record highs in 2017 increasing by nearly 1000%.  Why the dramatic increase?  Because recent phishing campaigns have been executed quite well and often succeed.

Emails Look Legitimate

These campaigns primarily attempt to gather login credentials for user’s accounts.  The campaign usually starts with an email that looks as though it came from your service provider such as Microsoft, Gmail, DocuSign, etc.  The email typically matches the style of your provider perfectly, so it looks legitimate.  Ironically, security concerns are often given as the reason for contacting you.  Naturally, upon seeing an email about security concerns, most users click the link in the email to take care of it.

Wait.  It Gets Better.

When the site you end up on looks exactly like it should, most people don’t see a reason for concern.  You enter your credentials to log in, and you may even get redirected to the proper site after doing so.  It’s at this point that the damage is done.  The phishing email did its job, and you’ve just handed over your username and password.  The entire process can be so convincing that even people who work here have fallen for them.

What You Should Do

First, read that post about identifying phishing emails.  Second, pay attention to the URL on any link you click on (preferably before you click on it).  Additionally, if your service provider offers 2-Factor Authentication, use it.  2-Factor Authentication utilizes a secondary means of identification, typically an app on your phone, text message, or email.  It adds an extra step to the login process at times, but it completely prevents someone from using your username and password without it.  The additional layer of security is worth it.

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