How Microsoft’s New Phish Button Can Benefit Your Business

Ignoring suspected scams can be an appropriate solution if you have no better options, but being able to do something about them is even more helpful. Microsoft’s new Phish Alert Button is the latest step in the company’s efforts to give business email users options for reporting phishing and other suspected scams to an IT professional within their company. Here is an overview of what phishing is, how to recognize it, and the role Microsoft’s new Phish Alert Button can play in minimizing the overall amount of phishing emails in your company’s inboxes.

Phish Button

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of scam that involves a cyber attacker that is disguised as a legitimate person or company in an attempt to fool the recipient into revealing sensitive personal or business information. Although phishing can be conducted through text messages, directly on fake websites that were designed to mirror real ones, and through other means, email is by far the most common method that phishing scammers use to connect with their targets. Phishing attacks often seek to gain unauthorized access to an individual or business’s bank accounts, credit card information, or other financial data, and phishing scams that target medical records, insurance information, and other types of accounts are also common.

Email phishing attacks work by sending their targets fake emails that are designed to appear as though they are coming from the target’s actual bank, insurance company, supervisor, or other legitimate person or organization. This can involve creating a fake email address that is very similar to that of a real sender, designing an email that includes the company’s real logo, and other techniques that are intended to convince the recipient that the email is from the person or organization he or she thinks it is from.

Although cyber attackers are becoming more sophisticated and more capable of creating emails that are more difficult to immediately detect as phishing over time, many phishing emails can still be identified before any damage is done. Phishing emails often contain multiple spelling mistakes and unusual word choices that would be unlikely to be made by a legitimate organization or other reputable sender. Phishing scammers also tend to work by creating an unfounded sense of urgency, such as claiming that the recipient’s account will be deleted or they will be heavily fined if they do not respond immediately, which is intended to manipulate the recipient into providing personal information without thinking it through.

What Is the Phish Alert Button?

Phishing can be a very dangerous type of scam, particularly if an email is sent to an entire company or another long list of recipients and multiple people within a company fall for it. Fortunately, many phishing attacks are relatively easy to identify if you know what to look for and take the time to look closely at any email that asks for login credentials, card information, or other categories of personal information before responding. Microsoft’s latest release aims to target phishing by giving email recipients a simple means of reporting emails that are obvious or likely phishing to protect other recipients and prevent future emails from a particular sender.

The Phish Alert Button, or PAB, is a way for Outlook and Microsoft 365 users to flag emails that are believed to be phishing for further review. If your organization has installed the Phish Alert Button, it will show up in at least one of your toolbars. Clicking the Phish Alert Button will automatically forward the email in question to a designated IT professional within your organization, who will assess the email to confirm whether it is phishing and take further action if needed.

How Do I Use the Phish Alert Button in Outlook?

Outlook users can find the Phish Alert Button at the top of their Outlook Client and as a tab within any email window you have open. You will simply need to click this button to start the process of reporting a particular email and click “Yes” in the dialogue box that pops up to confirm that you meant to click the Phish Alert Button and report a particular email. This confirmation will forward the email to the designated IT recipient for review, as well as automatically delete the email from your inbox.

How Do I Use the Phish Alert Button in Microsoft 365?

Windows 365 users can find the Phish Alert Button within the dropdown menu of an open email. You will simply need to click this button and click “Yes” on the sidebar that comes up confirming that you meant to flag the email as phishing. The program will then let you know if the email you reported was a simulated phishing attack or another type of malicious email that was intended to gain access to your or your company’s money or sensitive information.

Other Tips for Preventing Phishing

Although the Phish Alert Button is a helpful way to proactively help protect others within your organization and prevent future emails from a particular sender, knowing how to recognize phishing and other types of email scams in the first place is crucial when it comes to protecting yourself from revealing personal information to an unauthorized sender.

Taking a moment to evaluate whether the real person or organization that claims to have sent an email has a legitimate reason for requesting a particular piece of information, as most legitimate companies will not ask for sensitive information by email. You can also contact the real person or company to find out whether they sent a particular email, although it is important to do this separately and not by replying to the email in question. This is a particularly important step if an email contains unusual spelling or grammar mistakes that you would not expect a legitimate company to make.

At Mainstreet IT Solutions, we prioritize providing our clients with the resources to recognize phishing and other types of email scams before any damage is done, and the Phish Alert Button is a helpful tool when it comes to informing others within your organization about a known or suspected phishing email and cutting down on such emails in the future. Contact us today to learn more about implementing the Phish Alert Button for your business or for more tips for recognizing and preventing email scams!

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