Learning how to report a fraudulent email is a crucial step in fighting against phishing. In an ideal world, anyone faced with a phishing attempt would report it, as this contributes to the fight against phishing.
Despite various anti-phishing protections and filters, a phishing email can still make its way into your inbox at any time. That's why it's essential to know the proper steps to take to report the threat and contribute to the fight against phishing.
How to report an email in a business setting: adopting a phishing reporting procedure
The cybersecurity of a company relies on its weakest link. Therefore, it is important for everyone to know the procedure to follow when detecting a phishing email.
If your company does not have an explicit procedure, here are the general steps recommended when receiving a suspicious email:
- Report and forward the email to the incident response team.
- If your email software allows it, mark the email as a phishing or phishing attempt.
- Delete the email from your inbox if it hasn't been automatically done during the previous step.
The Arsen reporting button allows you to perform these three actions with one click.
If a procedure exists, make sure you are familiar with its specifics, such as the address to which to forward the fraudulent email or the reporting button to use in your email software.
Finally, theoretical knowledge is only part of the equation. It is also important to ensure that you can apply this knowledge when faced with a phishing attempt. That's why we recommend and offer simulated phishing exercises to companies, allowing for real-life practice and the application of these procedures.
How to report a phishing email in a personal context?
At home, there is rarely a reporting procedure, let alone an incident response team to handle and analyze phishing attempts.
However, you can report the phishing email to the messaging service you use. The majority of messaging applications provide a reporting button specifically for phishing emails.
For example, if you use Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo, there are dedicated reporting buttons for phishing attempts. They allow you to report these emails in just two clicks or less.
Reporting an email as phishing on Gmail can be done in two clicks.
These reports contribute to the broader fight against phishing attacks. Indeed, the email service uses your report to update its rules for detecting and filtering incoming mail for all users. As a result of your report, there is a higher chance that the service will filter similar phishing attempts to spam or display a warning message when viewing these emails.
By reporting phishing emails, the domain, the sender, and potentially the website can be blocked afterwards. This protects other users from this threat.
If you don't use a service like Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook that has this type of reporting procedure, you can register on platforms like signal-spam.fr. All you need to do is download their reporting button to notify the national level of the phishing attempt.
The platform is a public-private partnership between government authorities and various Internet professionals. The CNIL (National Commission on Informatics and Liberty) reviews the reports and launches an investigation to sanction the perpetrators of phishing.
What happens when you report a fraudulent email?
Some of you may be interested in knowing the chain of events that can unfold after you report a fraudulent email. Here's what happens when you report a phishing email in your inbox.
Reporting an email at work
In a business setting, the incident response team will analyze the email and verify the implications of the attack. For example, if it is an attempt to infect with a malicious attachment, the security team will ensure that the malware was not executed on the affected computers and that there is no suspicious activity on the network.
They may also update their filtering rules so that these emails no longer end up in your inbox.
Finally, they may use these emails to develop training scenarios that simulate these reported threats. By conducting exercises similar to the emails received, they ensure that they have training against current phishing attacks.
Reporting an email in a personal context
When reporting in a personal context, the browser or email service analyzes the email and its links to assess the threat. They can then update the security rules of the messaging service, thereby improving the security for each user. Reporting phishing is beneficial to all users and is necessary for enhancing email security.
Google SafeBrowsing is another protection system that can be informed of your reports. SafeBrowsing analyzes web pages and suspicious domains. It increases the security of over 4 billion devices each day against phishing attacks, ransomware, social engineering, and unwanted software by preventing access to malicious pages.
Potential police procedures
The Pharos platform fights against technology-related crimes
The Pharos platform handles internet scam reports made through the website internet-signalement.gouv.fr before transferring them to an investigative service. The Central Office for the Fight against Computer-related Crime then takes over your case for examination.
For your information, the Pharos platform receives several tens of thousands of reports each year.
When you receive a phishing email, it is important to report it. If you have a dedicated service, make use of their reporting procedure so that they can effectively protect your company against the detected threat.
In a personal context, use the reporting buttons provided by your email service to contribute to collective protection and fight against phishing.
No matter the situation, the more fraudulent emails you report, the more you contribute to the fight against phishing. Therefore, we encourage you to report every phishing email you receive.