Blog Archive

Protection from Phishing



You are no doubt aware of phishing attacks.  When emails arrive purporting to be from your bank or the tax office with an urgent message trying to prompt the recipient to click a login button.  The login button links to a web page that looks like the official organisation but of course, is not and the site is trying to gain your login information so they can use it on the legitimate site to access your account.

Spear-phishing is more targeted.  An example is where an email is sent from a person you know and potentially trust.  It might even be a senior figure at your company.  The email will ask for something quickly and again, his is an attempt to catch people whilst they are unwary and trick them into paying a fake invoice or revealing sensitive information. 

Spear Phishing Attack

Here is a snip from an email account and as you can see, we have a message flagged for high importance from the CEO.  Naturally we open it and want to action this straight away.

Outlook (and the Outlook web app) try to catch these attacks and warn the user in a clear way.


When we open the email (and before we even hit reply), Outlook displays a prominent warning that, although the name is similar to someone we receive email from regularly, the email address is unusual.

Outlook 2019 Spear Phishing Attack Warning


This is a great improvement and will hopefully help to reduce these attacks which are easy to fall prey to.


Conditional Formatting in Outlook



Conditional Formatting in Outlook is a really useful tool that allows you to customise how different messages appear in your inbox message list based on criteria that you set.

By default, conditional formatting makes unread messages appear in bold but you can add your own customisations also. For example, you may want messages that are just sent to you and no one else appear larger in your message list, or you may want message that are sent to you from your manager to appear in a different colour so they stand out. Both of these things can be done by applying conditional formatting.

Setting up Conditional Formatting

From your inbox:

  • Click on the View tab
  • In the Current View group, click View Settings
  • Click Conditional Formatting
  • Click Add to create a conditional formatting rule

Let’s look at an example. I want to create a formatting rule for mail that is sent only to me. I have named by rule ‘Only Me’.

Cond_Form1
  • Click Condition
  • Put a tick in the ‘When I Am’ box and specify ‘the only person on to To line’
Cond_Form2
  • Click OK
  • Click Font

Select how you wish these messages to appear. As these are important I have changed the font style, made it purple and bigger so they really stand out.

  • Click OK
Cond_Form3

When I switch back to my inbox, I can now see the conditional formatting has been applied to my message list.

Cond_Form4

Another example would be setting conditional formatting for mails that come in from a specific person.

To do this, repeat the above steps but when you click Condition, enter the name of the person in the From field. Click OK and then set the formatting options through Font.

Cond_Form5

There are lots of options within conditional formatting so its worth taking a look at trying out different options to make your important mails really stand out from the others.