Email Security Blog

Phishing Thought Leaders - An Interview with Data Curator, Bukar Alibe

Bukar is part of the INKY team that reviews the emails that users send through the Report This Email link found in the INKY Phish Fence banner. We talked to him about phishing trends and user feedback. 

Phishing Thought Leaders - Data Curator


Since INKY works even if customers don’t use the “Report This Email” link, why do users still report emails? 

They might wonder why something was classified a certain way. Reporting emails helps our product work better for them. They can also make product suggestions that we will consider. We research the reports sent to us. For example, one user wondered why we didn’t catch a Microsoft impersonation that was sent from and not from Microsoft. However, we know that is an official domain of Microsoft. 


What frequent phishing attempts you see?

Impersonations of Microsoft Exchange or Office 365 are common, because these email platforms are popular with businesses. Helpdesk impersonations and bitcoin scam phishing emails are more and more common. INKY labels these emails as “help desk scam” or “bitcoin blackmail scam” to provide more specific information to the user.   


Do phishers try to reach multiple people in an organization?

Yes, everyone can be a target. It only takes one employee to get infected with malware and if that computer is connected to the network, the entire organization is compromised. A phisher can also take the victim’s online identity and send what appears to be legitimate requests for money or sensitive information from that organization. 


What happens with user reports?

We review these and regularly meet to discuss them. For example, if a user reports an email that we classified as phishing is what they consider spam, we at INKY review this. We think of how we could have classified it correctly, and we adjust INKY accordingly. We love user feedback. 


How does one become a Data Curator?  

I have a unique background that prepared me to be a Data Curator at INKY. It starts with my education at University of Maryland. I took computer networking, data science, and web development courses. These classes gave me skills to get my foot in the door of the cybersecurity industry where I worked as a cybersecurity analyst detecting and taking down hundreds of phishing websites. With my experience as an analyst and data science background, I use phishing data to improve our detection techniques. 


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