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Merchant Security Awareness

Opening the wrong email can expose you to cybercriminals. Here’s how to protect yourself

March 20, 2024
March 20, 2024
4 mins read
Cybersecurity Risk & Governance

Editor's note:

Email is one of the most common tools cybercriminals use to commit fraud. Because of how ubiquitous it is, it makes it easy to reach many people and businesses. 

Spotting an email scam is hard, even for a trained eye. It is difficult to prevent it as one wrong click or downloading malicious files can expose sensitive data, cause loss of funds and even damage your business. 

It’s important to have proper processes to protect you and your business from an email attack. In this post, we’ll give you tips to immediately apply to boost your email security and protect yourself from scams.

"Social Engineers know exactly how to expose and exploit a weak spot"

How to identify a harmful attachment

Phishing is one of the ways cybercriminals attack people and businesses to gain access to your system.


It involves tricking users into clicking on a malicious attachment, which can infect their computer with ransomware or other harmful viruses.


Cybercriminals use this tactic because it allows them to make the attachment appear legitimate and bypass automatic security safeguards. It's important to be cautious and know how to identify potentially harmful attachments to protect your computer and personal information.

Tips to look out for in identifying a harmful or suspicious attachments

  • Archive files such as: .zip/.rar/.7z 
  • Office files with macros such as: .doc/.pptm/.xlsm 
  • Files with double extensions (the only extension that matters is the last one) 
  • Emails with HTML attachments such as: .html
  • Attachments you are not expecting or have not requested should be treated with caution.

How to improve email security and stay safe from cybercriminals

  • Keep your device (laptops, tablets, mobile phones) updated with the latest security updates.
  • Do not open any attachments from an unknown sender.
  • Verify any unexpected attachments before opening them.
  • Always verify bank details with the sender before making any payments.
  • Remember, never feel pressured to act quickly. Take your time to make sure everything is legitimate and secure.

While email scams happen often, you can protect yourself and your business with the proper security protocols. Use the tips in this blog post to prevent scammers from exploiting your system.


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