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Help Desk Phishing Email

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A really tricky one: a phishing email that contains a warning that the user has received a phishing email!

This email is a phishing email but the sender has tried to disguise it by making it look as if it was generated by an internal cyber attack defence service.  In some respects, one of the better phishing attacks as the recipient’s name actually appears in the body of the email.

There are however “giveaways” that identify this as a phishing email that contains links that will either result in a malware infection or fooling the user into divulging logon credentials.  The phishing “red flags” are:

  • The From address will not correspond to the recipient organisations domain name

  • Does the “verification team” correspond to any department or unit in your organisation? Probably not

  • Look at the last sentence: “As you don’t have to reply to this message” – the grammar is poor and a further indication that this is a phishing email and should be ignored


When circulating details of this phishing email within your organisation we recommend advising how bone fide emails from IT support functions can be recognised. This should include advice on:

  • The email addresses used by each support function

  • The email signature used

  • Advise all colleagues to use the phishing email reporting button if they receive a phishing email

We constantly monitor for new sources of end user cyber attacks and phishing techniques. Our threat intelligence updates, which are included in our end-user Cyber Security e-learning service, provide continuous notification of end-user cyber threats. Examples such as the example phishing email above, are immediately advised to you via email so that you can keep your organisation aware of new threats as they occur. This ongoing process of education builds awareness and vigiliance throughout your organisation, creating a culture of cyber security awareness, maintaining your "human firewall".


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