When we talk to our clients and community about ways to protect your identity, we encourage everyone to be smart when it comes to using the internet. This especially includes email. Earlier this year, several of our clients received a phishing email that claimed to have been from Microsoft. We would like to reiterate the importance of paying attention to your email and only using it as a notification.
This is what the phishing email looked like, which was not in fact from Microsoft.
The “From” address, specifically the email’s domain, is very unofficial:
- “Activation@Authenticate.micro-soft.net” is not a valid Microsoft email.
- Any official Microsoft email would be from “@microsoft.com.”
Their are several punctuation and spelling errors:
- Awful use of dashes (-), such as “Office-365,” “unusual-activities,” and “human-verification.”
- There’s a missing word in “doesn’t have access your account.”
The Authenticate button is an insecure site and very suspicious: http://vsdglobal.net/modules/blog/office/
There’s no branding. However, even when an email is branded, it can still be phishy.
Avoid Clever Phishing Emails
Some cyber criminals are really good graphic design. Anyone can Cut & Paste or even master Adobe. Take a look at this Verizon email:
Review the sender’s email address. Hover over any links or buttons. Visit the vendor’s website without clicking anything. Any legitimate notification will be in your account once you log in, under messages or notifications. If you are still questioning the email, call your vendor.
Remember companies do not ask for your password in an email.
What Should You Do
While this may not directly affect you or your company, there’s no better time to be reminded of what cyber criminals are capable of if we aren’t mindful of our online activities.
If you receive a strange email from an individual – family, friend, or one of your vendors (i.e. Howard Tech Advisors) – do not reply. Instead email them directly from your own address book and ask about the email in question.
Phishing emails are just one way cyber criminals are trying to gain access to your important information and your identify. These criminals are also calling by phone and trying to get you to click on links on compromised websites, files, pop up ads, etc.
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At Howard Tech Advisors, we manage your IT infrastructure so that you don’t have to. Whether you need assistance creating a disaster recovery plan or you’d like to outsource your IT needs, we can help! Keep up with our weekly blog to stay up-to-date on the latest tech trends, security information you need to know to stay safe online, and tips and tricks to effectively navigating an increasingly mobile world.