Skip To Main Content


Email Phishing Attacks


What is Phishing?

Phishing is a method used by spammers to try acquiring information from users.  Email phishing attempts are designed to entice the user to give away sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, accounts numbers, etc..  This is done by presenting emails in a fashion that looks to represent a legitimate company. This email may include images and wording that is very similar to what you may see on the actual company website.  Email messages may also threaten the loss of a service or fee penalties for not reporting the information requested. These attempts are criminally fraudulent social engineering.

Types of Attacks:

  • Phishing: In this type of attack, hackers impersonate a real company to obtain your login credentials. You may receive an e-mail asking you to verify your account details with a link that takes you to an imposter login screen that delivers your information directly to the attackers.

  • Spear Phishing: Spear phishing is a more sophisticated phishing attack that includes customized information that makes the attacker seem like a legitimate source. They may use your name and phone number and refer to a company name in the e-mail to trick you into thinking they have a connection to you, making you more likely to click a link or attachment that they provide.

  • Whaling: Whaling is a popular ploy aimed at getting you to transfer money or send sensitive information to an attacker via email by impersonating a real company executive. Using a fake domain that appears similar to ours, they look like normal emails from a high-level official of the company, typically the CEO or CFO, and ask you for sensitive information (including usernames and passwords).

  • Shared Document Phishing: You may receive an e-mail that appears to come from file-sharing sites like Dropbox or Google Drive alerting you that a document has been shared with you. The link provided in these e-mails will take you to a fake login page that mimics the real login page and will steal your account credentials.


To avoid these phishing schemes, please observe the following email best practices:

  • Do not click on links or attachments from senders that you do not recognize. Be especially wary of .zip or other compressed or executable file types.

  • Do not provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) over email.

  • Watch for email senders that use suspicious or misleading domain names.

  • Inspect URLs carefully to make sure they’re legitimate and not imposter sites.

  • Do not try to open any shared document that you’re not expecting to receive.

  • If you can’t tell if an email is legitimate or not, please contact MCSC Technology Department.  Do not forward or send the email message to anyone unless you have been told to do so.

  • Be especially cautious when opening attachments or clicking links if you receive an email containing a warning banner indicating that it originated from an external source.  Google Mail will give you a warning about messages, please be cautious of opening messages with these warnings.