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February 17, 2023

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A Guide to Cybersecurity and Email Phishing Attempts

At Wilke CPAs & Advisors, we understand the complexities of the current cybersecurity landscape. That’s why we’re excited to spotlight essential topics through our advisory services blog series, where we provide the insights you need to make informed, strategic business decisions. Read on to discover more about recognizing email phishing attempts and taking the first steps in protecting your company’s most sensitive information.

Taking a Proactive Approach to Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity and phishing attempts are closely intertwined, with email phishing being the most common tactic cybercriminals use to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. A recent analysis of more than 55 million emails showed that 1 in every 99 emails is a phishing attack.

These scams typically involve an attacker sending an email that appears to be from a legitimate source–like a friend, business associate, bank, or government agency. Usually, these types of malicious emails are designed to trick the recipient into revealing financial information or installing malware on their computer.

Effective cybersecurity measures are essential in protecting against these threats. This can include implementing email filters to block suspicious messages, using anti-malware software to detect and remove potential threats, and educating employees and clients about identifying and reporting phishing attempts. Here are a few best practices to start mitigating your risk today:

Review the sender’s email address

The first step to recognizing a malicious email is to check the sender’s email address. A malicious email often has a fake sender email address that is designed to look legitimate, so be sure to double-check the email address before taking any further action. As a reminder, the IRS will not ask for personal or business information via email.

Pay attention to the subject line

The subject line of an email can provide valuable clues as to whether the email is a possible phishing scam. Malicious emails often use attention-grabbing phrases or urgent language to entice the recipient into opening the email.

Be wary of urgent requests

Speaking of urgency, many malicious emails try to create a sense of “right now” to prompt the recipient to take action quickly. If you receive an email that claims to be urgent, take the time to review it carefully before jumping into action.

Look out for attachments

Attachments are a common way for cybercriminals to deliver malware to a victim’s computer. Only download or open it if you expect an attachment or if it seems suspicious. It’s essential to keep in mind that even an innocent-looking attachment can contain malware, so be cautious.

Check for spelling and grammar errors

If you notice spelling or grammar errors, you may be looking at a malicious email. Legitimate businesses and organizations usually take the time to proofread their emails before sending them out, so errors can be a red flag.

Don’t click on links

Email links can be used to redirect you to a fake website that looks legitimate but is designed to steal your personal information. Please only click on email links if you are sure they are from a legitimate source.

What’s Next

By taking a robust and proactive approach to cybersecurity and email phishing attempts, you can help protect your data, reputation, and overall business growth. As always, report any suspicious emails to your IT team immediately.

Wilke CPAs & Advisors is ready to help small business owners achieve their cybersecurity goals. Contact us when you’re prepared to look closely at your company’s strategy and risk mitigation efforts.

 

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