The Anti-Phishing Working Group’s (APWG) 2022 second quarter report indicates a growing problem in the cybersecurity world.

Nearly 1.1 million phishing attacks were observed by the APWG in the second quarter of 2022 alone, making for the highest single-quarter total in the organization’s existence.

Let that sink in.

1.1 million attempts to steal information, breach your security systems, and create chaos and havoc within your day-to-day operations.

So what’s the biggest threat to be on the lookout for? You’re probably thinking with all the firewalls, threat identification and quarantining systems you have in place there’s no way it could happen to you.

The weakest link, in fact, could be you.

Social engineering attacks are getting smarter with every attempt and send. Preying on our human nature and routines is becoming commonplace. The days of the easy-to-spot phishing scams of years past are gone and have been replaced by sophisticated, tailored threats to specific individuals within an organization. Threats and attacks designed to maneuver around our security blankets are penetrating our inboxes more frequently, providing us a reminder to be more vigilant than ever before.

And it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. From city government breaches to healthcare systems being left in the dark, and everywhere in between, staying alert and being able to identify telltale signs of today’s malicious techniques can keep you, your customers, and the data you both have stored in your systems, secure.

So how can you stay safe in an increasingly dangerous environment?

Here are some tips to help you spot even the cleverest phishing attempts hitting your inbox:

  • Be weary of generic greetings like, “Dear Customer,” or “Dear Employee.”
  • A call to action that invokes fear like, “Your account has been suspended.”
  • An action item pushing you to click a link. Look at the hyperlink destination before you click on any link in an email!
  • Threatening language. Big, bolded words trying to draw action. “Caution!” “STOP!” “ACT NOW!” are all examples.
  • Egregious spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Generic closings, just like the generic greetings, are also red flags.