What to Do if You Open a Phishing Email - Tecbound Technology

What to Do if You Open a Phishing Email

Getting an organization up and running takes years of blood, sweat, and tears. However, a phishing attack can severely disrupt business operations and quickly cause massive damage. Over the last few years, phishing attacks have increased to alarming levels. In these attacks, cybercriminals send deceiving emails to trick users into providing sensitive information or to launch malware on the users’ systems. While most organizations are vigilant against phishing attacks, some emails surpass their defenses. This happens partly due to employees’ lack of awareness and cybercriminals’ use of sophisticated social engineering techniques. That’s why every user needs to know what follow-up actions to take if they accidentally open a phishing email.

  • What to do if you open a phishing email:

While opening an email might not be very damaging, any wrong moves after that will compromise your systems and data. Here are some best practices to minimize the impact of a phishing email, but keep in mind that while these steps can reduce the result of a phishing email to a large extent, they do not guarantee complete protection.

1. Don’t click links, download attachments, or reply:

It cannot be stressed enough to never click on links, download attachments or reply to a suspicious email. If an unexpected or unusual file is attached to a suspicious message, do not interact with it at all. Don’t click, install, launch, rename, or do anything with the email or any attachments. The links in the email might take you to a spoofed website where you will be asked to enter your credentials. Never enter any details unless you’re sure of the website. Additionally, ignore any requests from the sender since interacting with these requests could put you on the scammer’s radar.

2. Flag the phishing email as spam or junk:

Once you have encountered a phishing email, flag it as spam to help your email client filter spam emails efficiently and send those emails directly to the spam folder or block them entirely.

3. Report the phishing email to the necessary parties:

Reporting a phishing email only takes a few minutes, but it can save your organization from severe financial and reputational damage. By doing this, you also make yourself a more challenging target, limiting the number of phishing emails you receive. Also, bring the phishing emails to your colleagues’ attention by taking a screenshot of the email to help them avoid falling for phishers’ traps. If you’re unsure who to inform, report the message to your boss. Never forward phishing emails to your colleagues since one of them might click on the link or download the attachment within the email.

4. Scan your device for viruses, malware, or ransomware

Use anti-malware software to scan for any viruses, malware, or ransomware. If you discover any malware, take appropriate actions to eliminate it. Until the issue is resolved, it’s best to avoid any online activities, especially anything that involves entering sensitive information, like your user credentials or bank account details, since hackers could gain access to them. If you’re unsure how to perform malware scans, contacting your IT department is advisable.

5. Change passwords and credentials:

Regularly changing passwords is one of the safest ways to prevent identity and data theft. Hackers use malware to access credentials for bank accounts, emails, social media profiles, and e-commerce websites. If you suspect one of your credentials has been compromised, change your passwords immediately.

6. Go offline or disconnect from the network:

If you have interacted with a phishing email, set your device to airplane mode or any equivalent, or go offline from your network to prevent malware from spreading to other devices on the same network. Cybercriminals try to quickly compromise as many systems as possible to maximize the damage, and disconnecting from your network may help contain the spread of malware.

Source: ID Agent

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