One of the common ways cybercriminals use to threaten organizations and demand money is through email hoaxes. Hoax emails basically capitalize on your fear, i.e. they use DDos attacks, physical attacks, and the threats to expose your critical organizational information. They use malware or exploit the loopholes in your security to collect the sensitive information from your systems.
Keep in mind that cybercriminals always keep altering their hoax themes, but their goal is consistent – they want to trigger fear in your mind and force you into paying them ransom. To stay safe from hoax emails, you must identify them to start with. However, you should also keep in mind that when you get a malicious email, it might also be a solid threat. To make a difference between legitimate and illegitimate email-based threats, you must look for certain clues in the email. It would help you determine whether the threat is real or fake.
For example, a hoax message appears entirely opportunistic that are sent to many people at the same time. If you see that the email lacks detail information and the language is generic in nature, it is an indication the email is a hoax. Furthermore, there is always an element of urgency in the hoax email. For instance, it demands immediate payment to prevent the revelation of your sensitive data or avoid a cyber attack. The urgency prevents the recipient from thinking about the legitimacy of the email and instead focuses on how to avoid the situation as threatened by the attacker.
A hoax emails will not provide you a legitimate evidence of the power to prevent his or her claims. Some attackers even use hoax emails to get legitimate information from the recipient. They can even pose as a known group to validate their threats.
Here are some more tips to identify a hoax email and deal with it:
- Confirm the legitimacy of the email in light of the hoax email indicators mentioned below:
- Find out whether the email has detailed knowledge about the operation and whether it has general language and look like a mass email campaign
- Closely check the keywords, the ID of the sender’s cryptocurrency ID, and the email address
- Look at the payment ID for transactions made to the cryptocurrency wallet that can give hints into the attacker’s activities
- Confirm the legitimacy of the claim:
- Be sure the claimed malware was not installed on your computer during an antivirus scan. Your antivirus must be up-to-date when it comes to the signatures.
- Review your systems and change your passwords in case you diagnose the malicious code.
Take your employees on board can confirm if their systems were also infected.