If you use email to communicate with your business’s customers, vendors or employees, you should familiarize yourself with the signs of email spoofing. Research shows that over four-fifths of all businesses use email. When compared to traditional communication channels, such as phone, email is faster and more convenient. Email spoofing, though, is a serious threat.
Overview of Email Spoofing
Email spoofing is an email-based cyber threat in which the attacker forges the “from” address of an email to make it appear as if it was sent from a trusted source.
All emails have a “from” address. It represents the email address of the sender. Email spoofing involves the use of a fake or forged “from” address. The recipient will think the email was sent from a trusted source when in reality, the email was sent by an attacker with a different “from” address.
Email spoofing is often performed for the following reasons:
- Solicit personal information from recipients, such as birthdates and Social Security numbers
- Acquire usernames and passwords via phishing
- Spread viruses and other forms of malware
Signs of Email Spoofing
How do you know if an email is part of a spoofing attack? There are several signs you should look for when viewing your inbox. If you receive an email from a sender that you were not expecting or did not initiate contact with, it could be a sign of email spoofing. Emails with a fake or forged “from” address are often unsolicited and may try to trick you into taking action, such as clicking on links or providing the sender with personal information.
Spelling and grammar errors is a common sign of email spoofing. We all make mistakes when typing. Spoofed emails, however, typically have more spelling and grammar errors than legitimate emails. If you discover a lof of spelling and grammar errors in a particular email, it may be a sign of email spoofing.
Unexpected links and file attachments is a common sign of email spoofing. Be wary of file attachments or links in emails, especially if you were not expecting them. Spoofed emails may contain malicious file attachments or links that could lead to malware or phishing websites.
Another common sign of email spoofing is a sense of urgency. The attacker may try to instill a sense of urgency in a spoofed email so that you’ll take action without thinking twice. For example, the spoofed email may claim that your account has been compromised or that you will face consequences if you do not respond quickly. Be cautious of emails that instill a sense of urgency, and verify their authenticity through other means before taking action.