If you run a business, you may have noticed that you occasionally receive spam or phishing emails that can be annoying, and in some cases, worrisome. Spam is considered unsolicited commercial email. Often times, the individual is trying to sell something and is not interested in getting sensitive information from you.
Phishing, on the other hand, is not limited to email and is an individual's attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and bank and credit card details. This is a fraudulent act that should not be ignored. Aside from emails, there are voice phishing, SMS phishing, and link manipulation, just to name a few.
Understanding the Issue with Spam and Phishing
Many people dread the thought of spam emails, especially when operating a business. Spam can be annoying when you are trying to sort through your important emails and have to spend time deleting spam. With that said, this tedious process makes it easy for important emails to get deleted. This isn't an efficient way of working and is not only inconvenient but unproductive. In addition to this, your email server should have a dedicated folder for spam. However, if the email server gets overwhelmed with spam mail, it can occasionally make real mail bounce.
Phishing is a cybercrime that can easily go undetected by business owners. This is because cyber criminals act as legitimate companies to try and steal information discretely. What this means is, businesses that are vulnerable to phishing will increase their risk of not only compromising their business's information but their customers' information as well. This will cost business owners in the long run and can even ruin their brand's reputation as customers won't feel your business is trustworthy.
Where and How to Report Spam and Phishing
The first thing to note is that it's never a good idea to click on any email or click on any links inside of the email if you feel it could be spam or phishing. If you are receiving spam emails, there are a few ways you can handle it. You can start by reporting the email to your email provider by forwarding the spam message. In the message, you can state your complaint about being spammed so they can resolve the issue. Additionally, a lot of email providers allow their users to mark an email as junk mail or report it as spam with a button, which allows them to look into it further.
Another thing you can do is forward it to the sender's email provider if you have access to that information. Most email providers want to ensure that their users don't abuse their systems and will get on top of the issue.
Receiving a phishing email can be scary. But it's important to remember that as long as you don't click on any links, they cannot retrieve your information. If you receive a suspicious email from someone you know, the first thing you can do is check with them to confirm they sent you something. This is an easy way to decipher if an email is legitimate.
Aside from this, reporting phishing emails goes through a similar process for spam emails actually. You can report it to your email provider, the organization the email is allegedly from or a government body.
Tools and Technologies you can Use to Prevent Spam and Phishing
Now that you understand how spam and phishing can negatively impact your business and how to report it, it's time to discuss tools and technologies you can use to minimize spam and phishing moving forward.
For starters, it's an excellent idea to use good computer security practices. This means updating your software including your operating system, web browser, and any apps you use. This will help minimize the opportunity for threats. It's also important that you protect all of your passwords. You can do this by creating longer passwords with special characters. With that said, it's a good idea to diversify your passwords across all accounts.
Another option is to include two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires that you provide your password plus an additional piece of information. This will make it more difficult for phishers who want to access your information.
Tools such as reCAPTCHA and Akismet are a great way to prevent spam and phishing. Leveraging technologies like these can really help businesses improve efficiency while minimizing their risks of spam and phishing emails.
For instance, reCaptcha is a free service that protects your website from spam and abuse. It does this by using an advanced risk engine analysis and adaptive challenges to keep automated software from engaging in abusive activity on your website. Akismet works to filter out hundreds of millions of spam comments from the web every day. You can easily add Akismet to your site and let the software do all the work for you.
How to Spot Malicious Messages and Form Fills
Although the occasional spam email is bound to occur, it's best practice for business owners to familiarize themselves with what malicious messages look like. The first thing to pay attention to is whether the sender's address is correct. If the address doesn't match the name of the sender and the domain of the company isn't correct, it is likely a malicious email.
Another thing to pay attention to is the language and grammar of the message. If the message is full of spelling errors or it appears that someone used a language translator service to create the email, this raises an alarm for a malicious email.
Suspicious links are also common for individuals with ill intentions. Usually, the link will contain malware that will infect your computer. If the destination address doesn't align with the context of the message, then this could be an email that's malicious. It's important to note though that many legitimate and scam emails hide their destination address. For this reason, it may not be immediately obvious to know the destination of the link.
It's best practice for businesses to educate their team on how to spot malicious messages and form fills. This will ensure that everyone knows the protocol when this issue arises and keeps your business and customers protected at all times.
With business owners leveraging the internet to connect with their customers, spam is unavoidable. However, the key is to mitigate it. If you own a business, it's a good idea to consider an agency that can help reduce spam and reduce the risk of falling victim to phishing or hacking. If you are tired of spam and want to protect your business from phishers, contact us today.