Key steps to make phishing attacks harder for your adversaries

If you want to make it harder for your adversaries to succeed in a phishing attack you can configure your email program in the following way.

  1. Disable remote images and elements: Adversaries can use remote images to detect if and when you opened an email. When your email program supports that, you should disable the display of remote elements such as images.
  2. Disable display of HTML emails: Adversaries use HTML formatting to hide the true destination of URLs and the use of tracking pixels.  If your email program supports that, you can disable the display of HTML emails entirely or enable to prefer the display of unformatted text.
  3. Enable to show full addresses: Some email programs only show the display name, such as "Reporters Without Borders", instead of the email address by default.  When you enable the display of full email addresses, you are much more likely to detect when the display name does not match the email address.  But keep in mind that email addresses can be forged as well. 
  4. Train to detect phishing (see here)


And finally, as a general rule: it is good practice to never click on links in emails, and instead type the address the link refers to by hand.  If you decide to break this rule, which is sometimes perfectly reasonable, you should avoid to enter personal information or a password on the website that the link refers to.  If you have to do that, you should look at the link really carefully before clicking it.  If in doubt, you can also try to contact the person or company that sent you this link and ask if it is safe!  It is best to contact the author by some other form of communication like phone or messenger, though.

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