Identify a Phishing Message in Five Steps - Slide 5

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It is trivial for hackers to collect the email addresses and names of colleagues and friends. Larger companies typically publish their staff information on the Internet, while simple social engineering methods could be used to glean details such as the name of one's immediate supervisor or colleagues. The guideline here is to filter such messages based on what we know of the purported senders and how they typically write. Getting a curt "Check out this link" email from a normally verbose colleague or a "Nice babes" from a female boss should set alarm bells ringing.

From the network breach at RSA to theft of intellectual property in Operation Aurora, it is no secret that some of the most visible hacking involves the use of spear phishing. A targeted form of phishing that is custom-made for a specific organization, a spear phishing email message seeks to elicit a desired action that could result in a Trojan being loaded, or the unintended leaking of confidential or privileged data.

As Paul Mah has written in the past, defending against spear phishing is a challenging task that mandates some amount of user training. To assist organizations on this front, Paul has come up with a simple checklist to help identify a potential phishing message.

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