Phishing attacks are one of today’s major threats to your personal and business information in the digital realm. It is a method that allows hackers to use an opportunity to disguise themselves in order to access your most valuable data. Some of the most common phishing techniques involve the notification of an email from a bank or company (Yahoo!, Microsoft, iCloud etc..) warning you of unusual or fraudulent activity in your accounts. Typically, these urgent emails require the recipient to click a link, enter their login/password information or open an attached file. These tactics play up at one of our most basic human emotions: fear.
More often than not, these frightening emails are the sign of an incoming phishing attack. Learn to distinguish the techniques hackers use when phishing by reading on.
Beware of Emails Requesting an Immediate Action:
- Banks and other legitimate entities do not require their clients to give up their information through email. Therefore, receiving an email from a company urging you to share your private data is a cause for concern.
- Make sure you delete any emails that resemble the one described above from your inbox. It’s also a good idea to call your company or insurer to see if your information is still protected and secured.
- Phishing attacks do also typically require the recipient to open an attached document. These documents might come in Word or Excel format which makes them seemingly safe at first sight. However, these attachments are an effective way for hackers to gain access to your information. Do not download or open the files. Engage your IT Team.
- Embedded links can also be ridded with viruses and other malware so it’s important to be wary of them.
- Emails from third parties are also not to be trusted. If you do happen to receive an email from a third party, make sure the email comes from an authentic source by copying and pasting the third party’s embedded links on a different tab.
- Always check the sender’s email address. Double click the name of the person to view the email. If the domain or address does not match the contact in your address book, report it.
- Owners of Windows OS and Mac systems are vulnerable to these types of phishing attacks. Accessing your account is the primary goal, so do not assume you are safe because you are on a Mac or Linux.
Use Security Software:
- Antivirus software provides you with protection from viruses and thus lowers your chances of being the victim of a phishing attack.
- Spam filter keeps spam from entering your inbox and moves them to a spam folder. Enterprise spam filters won’t deliver the spam to your mailbox at all. You will get a daily report of spam caught and its original source. It’ll be up to you to choose to release it or not.
- Web browsing filters will check the website you are accessing against a database of rogue websites. In case the site you are accessing is a rogue one, it will immediately block it.
- Password managers are great help when it comes to keeping your information secure and up to date.
- A password manager will automatically write in your password for you so that you don’t have to keep track of all of your passwords.
- A password manager will also check the web address of the site you are accessing. Since you already saved the real web address, if the link on the email is rogue your password manager will not auto fill your credentials.
- Password managers can be saved onto a USB drive. This is essential in our ever increasingly busy lives. Make sure your USB key is encrypted and password protected.