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Identifying a suspicious email

It is becoming increasingly difficult to identify when an email contains a suspicious file or virus. The emails are getting more clever and are weighing on social manipulation.

So what should you look out for?

Below is a snippet of an email which our Google Apps for Work mail service identified as containing a ‘virus or malicious link’.



This is a really good example of an email which you might not instantly realise is spam containing a virus.

Email Subject

Unusual email subjects with little information e.g ‘Invoices’, ‘copies’, ‘statement’, ‘credit card receipt’ can be a sign of a suspicious email.

Sender Address

The sender address is important; is this email from someone you know? If it is not from a specific person you know, is it from a domain name that you recognise? If in doubt you can Google search the domain name/ email address. Be careful not to go to the website in this case, by just pasting the domain name (in this case it could leave you vulnerable to attack.

Received Time

Was the email received after normal work hours? This is definitely not a fail proof identifier, as we know people work late, but it is worth taking into consideration when evaluating a suspicious email.

Spelling or Grammatical Errors

Spelling and grammar errors are commonly present in suspicious emails. This email is actually one of the better ones I have seen and it still has at least 3 errors!

File Attachment Name

The file attachment name is a huge indication. The file which is purporting to be an invoice in this case is a .zip file with a gobbledegook name. When being sent an invoice via email it is most common for them to come in a PDF format.


The important thing to remember is that one of these points on their own might not identify an email as malicious but looking at all of the elements of an email and using this guide you can make an educated decision.



!Report messages as spam when you can – most email providers have this facility

!Do not click any links within emails even if they say ‘Report as Spam’ or ‘Unsubscribe’.

!If you do open a file or click a link which you think may be infected then call us as soon as possible!


If you think that you might have opened a suspicious email attachment then call us now 023 8024 9820

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