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10 Ways to Spot a Phishing Email

10 Ways to Spot a phishing email

Phishing emails are quite prevalent these days. Below are some ways to spot malicious emails.

“Phishing” is an attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and/or credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by pretending to be a trustworthy entity in an email. [1] Phishing can also occur over the phone or on websites, but email is the most common means.

Millions of phishing emails are sent to unsuspecting victims all over the world everyday. Some phishing messages are so ridiculous that it is easy to identify them as frauds. Others can be more deceptive. Below are ten things to look for when trying to decided if an email is legit.

1: The email contains a mismatched web address

Oftentimes the URL (aka. web address) in a phishing message will appear to be valid. BUT, if you hover your cursor over the URL, you can see the actual hyperlinked address (often at the bottom of the screen). If the hyperlinked address is different from the address that is displayed, the link could be fraudulent or malicious.

2: Website address is misleading

This trick is often used by scammers as a way to convince people that a message came from a reputable company like Amazon, Apple, or your bank etc. The scammer creates a web address that looks like it’s from a reputable company. It could look something like amazon.badcompany.com or usbank.scammersRus.com. It likely won’t be that obvious, but you get the idea. The word before the “.com” is what matters in computer-speak, so make sure it’s legit before clicking on it. And if you’re still not sure, it’s best to just type a web address directly into the browser search bar.

3: The email contains misspellings and bad grammar

This is often a tell-tale sign of a scamalicious email. If a message is filled with poor grammar or spelling mistakes, it probably didn’t come from a major corporation’s legal or customer relations department. It likely originated from Russia, China, or a poor eastern European country.

4: The message asks for personal information

Scammers often trick people to give up personal info by saying something like, “your account is going to be closed unless you update your account information with us ASAP.” If you are still unsure if the email is really from your bank or the company they claim to be, call the company directly, or email them through their website. Do not click any links in the email. That’s exactly what they want.

5: The offer seems too good to be true

This holds especially true for email messages. If you receive an email from someone unknown to you who is promising you the moon, the message is a scam.

6: You didn’t initiate the action

If you get an email that says you have won the lottery or a contest you did not enter, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is a scam.

7: You’re asked to send money

You might not asked in the initial message. But sooner or later, they will ask for money to cover expenses, taxes, fees, shipping etc. If that happens, you know it’s a scam. But hopefully you didn’t click on their questionable links to get this far.

8: The email makes unrealistic threats

We touched on this above, but this is a common one. For example, people have received official-looking emails allegedly from their bank. Everything may look real, but then it will say something like “your account has been compromised and if you do not submit a form [along with your account number] and two picture IDs, your account will be canceled and a judgement will be placed against you.”

A real company won’t send an email like this.

9: The message appears to be from a government agency

Sometimes emails claim to be from a law enforcement agency, the IRS, the FBI, or some other agency. US government agencies don’t normally use email as an initial point of contact, so it’s more than likely fake.

10: Something just doesn’t look right

When in doubt, don’t click. It’s best to be on the safe side and protect your computer and your personal information.

Beware of Ransomware!

Ransomware is a common type of malware we remove for our customers in our Lexington, KY computer repair shop.

Ransomware has become so rampant, that nearly every phishing email that gets sent today contains this form of malware.

What is ransomware you may say? It is a type of malicious software, or virus, designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

This data comes from PhishMe Inc, a provider of software defense solutions. In its latest report, it found that 97.25 percent of all phishing emails sent during Q3 of 2016 contained ransomware, up from 92 percent in Q1.

Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an email.

Three major trends were identified over the past 3 months according to the report:

Locky ransomware continues to dominate: While numerous encryption ransomware varieties have been identified in 2016, Locky has demonstrated adaptability and longevity. Locky will be remembered alongside 2013’s CryptoLocker as a top-tier ransomware tool that fundamentally altered the way security professionals view the threat landscape

Ransomware encryption: The proportion of phishing emails analyzed that delivered some form of ransomware has grown to 97.25 percent, leaving only 2.75 percent of phishing emails to deliver all other forms of malware utilities

Increase in deployment of ‘quiet malware’: PhishMe identified an increase in the deployment of remote access Trojan malware like jRAT, suggesting that these threat actors intend to remain within their victims’ networks for a long time

The other 2.75 percent of malicious software delivered included remote access Trojans, keyloggers and botnets. These still represent a significant hazard in 2016. Unlike ransomware, so-called ‘quiet malware’ is designed to avoid detection while maintaining a presence within a computer or business network for extended periods of time.

Here’s the moral of the story: Be careful what you click on! Read our Ten tips for Identifying a Phishing Email.

Has your computer has fallen victim to ransomware or other malware

Give us a call and we will get right to work on rescuing your computer. If you pay the ransom to these bad actors, there’s absolutely no guarantee they’ll remove the malware from your computer. Call or email us, and we’ll let you know what your options are.

 

Virus Removal and Malware Prevention

Virus Removal – Computers Plus Repair Lexington

Computer Virus Removal in Lexington KY

Computer Virus Removal in Lexington KYThe skilled virus removal technicians at Computers Plus Repair in Lexington have extensive experience and success in removing all kinds of computer viruses and malware.

One of the most common computer services we perform is virus and malware removal, including removal of rogue security software which is becoming increasingly common (see below for a definition of terms and prevention).

Our virus removal service is quick, guaranteed, and competitively priced.

See our price list or request a quote; or call us at 859-523-5355

First we diagnose the severity of the problem through observation of the computer’s symptoms. Then, we utilize one or more of a number of diagnostic scanning and removal programs. In more severe cases we remove the hard drive and connect it to one of our computers to run the scans externally. This way, the malware can’t prevent removal programs from scanning and removing the infected files.

In a few cases, where there has been substantial damage done to core Windows system files, we recommend a data back-up (if desired) and a re-installation of the Windows operating system. In this case, the computer’s software would then be restored to a similar condition as it was when the computer was new.

We guarantee our work for 30 days, but you can be free of viruses for much longer if you take some of the precautionary measures discussed below. Also, refer to our post about our top recommended free software, which includes some of our anti-virus software recommendations. We also sell some more robust anti-virus programs in our store. Feel free to call us or stop in with any questions. We are always glad to help. Read more

Our First TV Commercial – Computers Plus Repair – Lexington KY

Check Out Our Very First Commercial!

“Has your computer died? Running slow? Full of viruses? How much will it cost?

Drop your computer off at Computers Plus Repair and we’ll provide any service you need for the lowest price in town, or we’ll come to you (or we can login remotely). Computers Plus Repair is locally owned and operated so you know you’ll get the same expert service every time. We specialize in OS installs, failed hard drives, back ups, and LCD repairs on any Mac or PC (as well as virus removal, optimizations, upgrades and much more). Plus, we sell budget friendly refurbished computers (we buy used computers too). Computers Plus Repair in the Pimlico Shopping Center, where honest advice is always free.”

859-523-5355
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3120 Pimlico Pkwy. Lexington, KY
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