Six Signs of a Phishing Email

How Do You Spot a Fake Email?

(excerpted from an article at eero.com)

Phishing – a fraudulent attempt to obtain your sensitive information by disguising oneself as trustworthy – continues to be one of the most prevalent ways for hackers to gain access to your accounts and compromise your identity.

At the end of 2019, over 86,000 phishing websites were discovered per month. Here are six common signs you are reading a phishing email. Here is an example:

1. Sense of Urgency

While phishers are not limited in who they try to imitate, they often try to copy financial institutions, cloud logins (Apple, Microsoft, Google), or disaster relief organizations. Their goal is an obvious one – to get you to take action on the email. To do so, they inspire a sense of urgency by telling you your funds are at risk, your account is being closed, or some other impending negative action.

2. Suspicious Sender Address

Email applications can only go so far to protect you from phishing. Scammers will often buy a domain name similar to the one they are trying to spoof. In the above example, the fisher is trying to imitate acmebank.com. They opted to use acrnebank.com hoping that your eye would be tricked by using “rn” instead of “m”.

3. Generic Greeting

In an era where marketing is personalized, it is less common to receive an email with a generic salutation. Most trusted institutions will address you by name, especially when an action is required.

4. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

Spelling and grammar mistakes are a telltale sign of a phishing attempt. Reputable companies proofread communications before publishing. Run-on sentences, misspelled words, and odd phrases are all signs that the email is not legitimate.

5. Link to Invalid Domain

The aim of a phishing attempt is to collect sensitive information. A common way scammers do this is by redirecting you to a fake online form. The link title and where the link takes you will often be different. It is simple to make a link “look” legitimate.

6. Suspicious Attachments

A more nefarious tactic is to attach infected files that allow attackers to gain a foothold into the system. Instead of simply gaining access to one account, the phisher now has to access to the entire computer. They can use their access to target your contacts from your email address. Common file types used include .pdf, .doc/.docx, and .exe files. However, attack techniques are always evolving.

How you can defeat phishing

  • Notice how you felt when you initially read the questionable email. If something felt off, then it probably is.
  • You can always go to the targeted site manually, i.e. go to your browser and type in www.acmebank.com, and do not click on a link embedded in the email.
  • Reach out to a professional or technical friend to get a second opinion if the email seems wrong.

Phishers use a combination of social engineering tools to trick you into doing what they want, and many of them are very good at it. Moreover, many of them target retirement-age individuals, who tend to trust what they read more than younger people do.

If you receive an email that looks suspicious, contact us and we’ll happy to take a look at it for you. We are here to help!

ProtonVPN – a VPN for the Rest of Us

ProtonVPN

Proton Technologies AG, the Swiss company that originally brought us the very secure ProtonMail, has recently released a VPN client, ProtonVPN. What is remarkable about this offering is that their most basic plan is free! Not just a free trial, but actually free.

 

What is a VPN and why do I need it?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it is a way of making sure that communications with your devices are secure and are not intercept-able. When you are at home, you can be reasonably sure that your connection to the Internet is secure. But if you are outside your home, for instance at a coffee shop or a library or a hotel, your chances of someone trying to co-opt your data are very high. Using a VPN minimizes this risk. Having a VPN service available should be part of everyone’s data security plan.

There are a large number of commercial VPN clients available for both Mac and iOS on the market, including familiar names like NordVPN, HideMyAss, and ExpressVPN. Most of these services offer a free trial. But ProtonVPN is the only one we’ve found so far that offers an actual free service. Their for-pay accounts offer simultaneous VPN connections, more connection points around the globe, and higher speeds.

Their most basic plan does have some restrictions (like only 1 simultaneous VPN connection per account) but for most people, that is a workable solution. If you have not yet landed on a VPN service for both your Mac and iOS devices, your time has come – this solution is a no-brainer. Their Mac and iOS clients are elegant and very pleasant to use. They offer the ability to save profiles, such as US-FastestService or Germany-MostSecure, and much more, to provide easy, one-click access as you need it.

You can sign up for all of their accounts at prontvpn.com. You can also use these links to download their Mac client and iOS client.

Wait, it’s all too much; I need some help!

Yes, that’s why we’re here. Contact Us and we can set it all up on both your Mac and your iOS devices for you!

How to Use Apple Mail Drop to Send Large Files

How to Use Apple Mail Drop to Send Large Files

Don’t you wish there was an easy way to send large email attachments that didn’t require registration, passwords or codes? If you have an iCloud account, you’re already set. Mail Drop is a feature that lets you send large files, up to 5GB, via iCloud. This is a handy feature for people who may be frustrated by the tiny attachment limitations of most email clients.

How Mail Drop Works

First, you need to have an iCloud account. You can utilize Mail Drop from iCloud.com or from the Mail app on your iOS device or Mac.

When you attempt to send an attachment that is too large, you can opt to use Mail Drop. The Mail app uploads the file to iCloud and provides the recipient with a link to download it. This allows your large file to get around the file size limitations of most email clients, as the file is never really added as an attachment.

However, once you send a file(s) to iCloud using Mail Drop, there is no way to remove it. Instead, they automatically expire after thirty days. The good news is that Mail Drop does not count against your iCloud storage. That being said, you don’t have unlimited Mail Drop storage. Each user has a storage limit of 1TB. If you go over this limit, you will not be able to use Mail Drop until one of your files expires and that storage space is reclaimed.

Using Mail Drop with iOS and macOS Mail Apps

Since Mail Drop uses iCloud for storage, it is automatically enabled for Apple Mail apps. This means that you don’t really have to do anything to start using it. To get started, compose an email and hit the paperclip to add an attachment. When you attempt to send an email with an attachment over 20MB, a window will pop up. This window informs you that the attachment is too large and asks you if you want to use Mail Drop. You’ll still have the option to send the file as a normal attachment, but if it’s over 20MB, it will fail. So you’re going to want to use Mail Drop.

mail-drop-iphone-dialogbox

To enable Mail Drop, simply tap or click on the “Use Mail Drop” button. Your file will then be uploaded to your iCloud account. From there, just send the email as usual. Instead of seeing a standard attachment, the recipient of the email will see a download link for the file in iCloud. Your file will be available to download for thirty days. After that, the file will be automatically deleted and iCloud storage space is reclaimed.

In order to download your file, the recipient of your email can use any email client on any operating system.

Using Mail Drop with Non-iCloud Email Accounts

If you don’t use your iCloud email account, don’t worry. You can still use iCloud to host your large files for non-iCloud email accounts. Mail Drop will work for any email account that you have linked to your Apple Mail app. The only caveat is that the email account must support the IMAP protocol. This shouldn’t be an issue for most people, as services like Gmail, Outlook and Thunderbird are all IMAP compatible.

mail-drop-enable

To use Mail Drop with an account, open up the Mail app on your macOS or iOS device. Open the Mail app menu and select “Preferences.” From here, click on “Accounts.” In the column on the left you should see a list of your linked email accounts. Highlight the email account you’d like to use Mail Drop with by clicking on it. Finally, click on the “Advanced” tab and check the box labelled “Send large attachments with Mail Drop.”

Troubleshooting Mail Drop

Sometimes Mail Drop doesn’t want to work. This can be frustrating, but see if any of these common problems is the culprit:

  • The email, including attachments, is larger than 5GB. Mail Drop has a 5GB limit, so exceeding that limit will cause it to fail. Try compressing your files or sending them in multiple messages.
  • You’re trying to send a folder of files. In order to do this you must compress the folder first. To do this, Control + Click or tap the folder with two fingers and choose “Compress” from the menu.
  • You’ve reached the 1TB Mail Drop storage limit. Unfortunately you can’t delete old Mail Drop files. This means you’ll just have to wait until older items expire and storage space is freed up.
  • You don’t meet the minimum system requirements for Mail Drop.

Mail Drop is a convenient way to send large files via email. Even if you only have to do so once in a while, it’s faster and less of a headache than using an alternative method.

Wait… Can’t you just do this for me?

Yes! Contact Us and we will help you get it done!

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