Cybersecurity awareness: think it through Back

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In this second installment of our three-part series, we'll discuss how to ask the right questions when reviewing a message that could be a phish.

TIP #2
Think it Through

Consider this as you check your email:
We must be cautious every time we read a message
because hackers only need one successful phish

There is good news. Small steps can amount to big strides when it comes to protecting data, devices and systems at work and at home. Instead of skimming and reacting to messages, ask yourself these questions:

  • Was I expecting this message? 
  • Does this email make sense? 
  • Am I being pushed to act hastily or out of fear? 
  • Does this seem too good to be true? 
  • Are you being asked to download a file or click a link to provide information that could be used to compromise systems (such as passwords or financial data)?
  • What if this actually is a phishing email – what could happen if I respond or take action as requested? (Asking this question helps you work through what could happen if you're dealing with a phishing attack.)

It's critical to remember that, with phishing attempts, things are never what they seem. If you remember to ask yourself these questions – over and over until it becomes a habit – you'll be much less susceptible to falling for scams.