Google quiz challenges users to identify phishing emails

Eight questions have been tailored to put illicit email spotting to the test

Google phishing email test

Google's Jigsaw unit has published a quiz that allows players to test their ability to identify phishing email attacks.

The quiz presents examples of emails, and users must examine them to decipher if they are legitimate or not.

To begin, users enter in their name and email. It doesn't need to be their actual information - the quiz just embeds the name and email into the quiz questions so they resemble email one might actually receive.

Then, Google presents a test made up of eight emails. Some are phishing attacks, while others are just regular emails. After an answer is selected, Google explains which elements of the email are signs of a phishing attack.

Often, phishing emails will be sent with a URL or email address of a trustworthy company (such as Google) in order to trick unsuspecting users to open the link. However, the quiz explains how these links usually have some type of giveaway that they're not who they say they are.

For example, some of the questions were inspired by real phishing attacks. One email uses the imitation domain "drive--google.com" to get people to open a Google Document.

It's based off a 2017 phishing attack in which people received emails inviting them to edit a Google Doc from someone in their contacts.

Another example mirrors an "account reset" email sent to Hillary Clinton's campaign manager in 2016. The email appears to have been sent from Google and tells the recipient their account has been hacked, then implores them to change their password.

What's particularly noteworthy about Google launching this free test, it that it paves the way for people to become more aware of phishing techniques and attacks, which is something that cyber security companies and consultancies might charge significant amounts for.

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