Your IT Support Experts - Homepage

We partner with many types of businesses in the area, and strive to eliminate IT issues before they cause expensive downtime, so you can continue to drive your business forward. Our dedicated staff loves seeing our clients succeed. Your success is our success, and as you grow, we grow.


About Us

IT Services

Understanding IT



Contact Us


(703) 359-9211

Free Consultation

Interested in seeing what we can do for your business? Contact us to see how we can help you! Sign Up Today

Macro Systems Blog

Is Your Team Prepared for Inevitable Phishing Attacks?

Is Your Team Prepared for Inevitable Phishing Attacks?

While it initially sounds promising to hear that the number of data breaches seen last year went down significantly, it is critical to understand that the number of data records leaked as a result more than doubled. One clear cause was the resurgence in the use of the underhanded malware variety known as ransomware. With this suggesting an increased threat of ransomware incoming, can you confidently say that your business’ team is ready to deal with it?

For your organization's data and operations to remain secure, you will need to take a two-pronged approach: both teaching your team to avoid phishing and evaluating them on their overall preparedness via simulated attacks.

How a Phishing Attack is Carried Out

Let’s review the overall process that the average phishing attack tends to follow:

  1. An attacker sends a message posing as someone else.
  2. This message can be written in a few different ways, framed as an enticing offer, a very unremarkable email, or a serious alert.
  3. Whatever the case may be, the user is encouraged to react by opening an attachment or following a link.
  4. Because these elements are what introduces the actual threat, these emails can often bypass security protocols and reach the unsuspecting target.

This—and the fact that a phishing attack against you is practically guaranteed to happen at some point—is precisely why it is so critical that your team is prepared to spot them as they come in.

Elements to Identifying a Potential Phishing Attack

Have Your Employees Think Like a Hacker

Hackers and scammers are very crafty when it comes to their schemes, usually tying in current events to add some perceived legitimacy. The past year has seen no shortage of COVID-19-themed phishing attacks, seeming to offer updates and information.

Hackers depend on user panic and impulsive reactions, so reinforce the importance that your users take an extended look at them before acting on them.

Demonstrate Risky Links

Hackers will also commonly use spoofed links to fool their targets. A spoofed link can take a few forms, but regardless of how it looks, it will direct a user to a website different from the one they expected to go to.

Spotting these links can be tricky, so here are a few best practices to follow. Assume that the spoofed link is meant to look like one that directs to the payment application Venmo as we go through some examples:

If the email is from Venmo, a link should lead back to or If there is anything strange between “venmo” and the “.com” then something is suspicious. There should also be a forward slash (/) after the “.com.” If the URL was something like, then you are being spoofed. Everyone handles their domains a little differently, but use this as a rule of thumb:

  • - Safe
  • - Safe
  • - Safe
  • - Safe
  • - Suspicious! (notice the dot immediately after Venmo’s domain name)
  • - Suspicious!
  • - Suspicious! Don’t trust dots after the domain!
  • – Suspicious! Be careful to pay attention to the spelling!

As you can imagine, some of these tricks are easier to spot than others, so extra diligence will be called for here.

Provide Your Team with Approved Links

To be particularly cautious, you could also consider giving your team the safe versions of the URLs they are to use. That way, they can seriously investigate the validity of an email without exposing themselves to risk.

Maintain Secure Password Standards

Finally, you need to make sure that your team’s passwords are secure enough that your business isn’t vulnerable that way; if passwords are too easy to deduce, there isn’t going to be any need for phishing in the first place. Your team should also be supplementing these passwords with additional measures like two-factor authentication, making a breach that much more challenging for a hacker to pull off.

Testing Your Team

Once you’ve taught your team the various things they’ll need to know, you should also confirm that they can apply them. A phishing test is an effective means of doing just that. In a phishing test, you have your own team members phished to evaluate how vulnerable they are to this form of attack. That way, you know where more training needs to be applied.

What a Successful Phishing Test Involves

An effective phishing test, naturally, cannot be one that is expected. Any warning you give should be vague so that your team isn’t on their guard more than they would normally be.

At the same time, you need to be ethical in how you run these tests. Too many companies have received backlash after running phishing tests with questionable tactics, and such tests don’t do much to benefit your security. As with everything else, your phishing tests cannot infringe on the trust of your team.

Speaking of trust, you can trust Macro Systems to assist you with your security needs. Call 703-359-9211 to find out more.

Testing Your Backup is Critical
The Fundamentals of a Successful BDR


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, April 19, 2021

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to

Customer Login

Contact Us

Learn more about what Macro Systems can do for your business.

(703) 359-9211

Macro Systems
3867 Plaza Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22030