The 12 subject lines that could indicate your email is under attack

Cybersecurity experts have revealed a list of the 12 most common subject lines used in phishing emails targeting businesses.

The list shows that fraudsters are using a combination of personalisation and pressure in an attempt to deceive victims.

In many cases, the language contained in the subject line of the email mimics popular terms used in the workplace to give the illusion that an urgent response is required; the idea being that an employee is more likely to open and respond to an email from a work colleague or their boss rather than a message from a stranger.

The data has been compiled by cybersecurity company Barracuda following an analysis of 360,000 phishing emails in a three month period.

The top subject lines are based around the following key phrases:

  1. Request
  2. Follow up
  3. Urgent/Important
  4. Are you available?/Are you at your desk?
  5. Payment Status
  6. Hello
  7. Purchase
  8. Invoice Due
  9. Re:
  10. Direct Deposit
  11. Expenses
  12. Payroll
[Source: Barracuda / ZDNet]

How you can protect yourself:

  • Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details
  • Don’t assume an email is authentic, even if someone knows your basic details (such as your name or address). Remember criminals can spoof email addresses to appear as companies you know and trust