Image: Spear Phishing poster. U.S. Navy graphic.

Beware of Spear Phishing!

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed a change to our email signature –

Please be aware of the possibility of cybercrime and fraud. We have no plans to change our bank details – if you receive an email purporting to be from someone at this firm which seeks to direct payment to a different account then it is unlikely to be genuine. If this happens, please do not reply to the email but let us know immediately. If you have any concerns and are sending funds to us, then please contact us by telephone and speak to your usual contact here to confirm the bank details before sending any funds – we cannot take responsibility for funds sent to an incorrect bank account.

This isn’t because we’ve fallen foul of any scams or malicious activity but because we’re hearing about a growing number of malicious attacks known as Spear Phishing.

The wonderfully named ‘Spear Phishing’ is a targeted phishing attack and can come about in a number of forms but the end-game here is almost always the same – someone contacts you, purporting to be someone with whom you have regular business and then notifies you of a change of bank details.

It starts with an email arriving to your inbox. This email won’t have come from your regular contact but from an email designed to look very similar – perhaps just a few minor changes, an extra character added, one taken away or even an ‘I’ swapped for an ‘L’. At first glance, they look the same. Hoping you won’t notice these changes the scammer enters a dialogue purporting to be your regular contact. Once that dialogue starts the request for money or changes to bank details aren’t too far behind.

It’s easy to see how the scammers’ use of social engineering and technical tricks can lure people into a false sense of security. However, it is even easier to side-step this scam with one simple step. Always, always authorise any change of payment details over the phone. Ring them up, speak to a known contact and confirm the details. Never feel ashamed to ask. Most people are happy to know they’re about to be paid.

Knowing how to protect yourself is great but you can also do your bit to help others too. The easiest way to do so would be to follow our lead and include some text in your email signature. Hopefully, in drawing attention to a lack of plans to make changes then any requests for that change stick out like a sore thumb.

If you would like some help changing your signatures or have any concerns about phishing emails do call us on 0118 9767111 – we will be happy to help.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *