As everyone knows, steering clear of suspicious email attachments is a basic rule of cybersecurity. But what makes an attachment suspicious exactly? How to recognize one? Read on to discover all these answers, plus other useful cybersecurity tips.
How To Recognize a Suspicious Email Attachment?
An attachment is a document sent along with an email message. You can attach any type of file to an email, including text files, video files, spreadsheets, and photos.
Needless to say, attachments are a useful feature of emails. Problem is, attachments are one of the methods hackers use more often to get unsuspecting victims to download malicious software.
Here are some of the red flags that indicate that you are probably dealing with a suspicious email attachment:
- You don’t know the sender, or the email address is nonsensical
- The senders’ email address is designed to confuse (for example, if your bank’s email address is email@example.com cybercriminals use firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The email that contains the attachment is riddled with typos
- The content of the email doesn’t make sense
- The file extension is uncommon (some of the extensions favored by hackers include .reg, .bat, .jar, an .msi
How To Protect Yourself Against Suspicious Email Attachments?
Hackers are cunning, but you can keep them at bay by implementing some basic cybersecurity hygiene practices:
- Listen to your instincts: if something feels off about an attachment, don’t open it
- Keep your antivirus up to date
- If your email account has an option to automatically download attachments, turn it off
- Use the anti-spam features on your email
- Avoid public Wi-Fi networks as much as possible (hackers can take advantage of them to snoop on your private information)
For more cybersecurity tips, check out our previous blog, “5 Basic Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses.”
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