Avoiding phishing attacks is crucial to staying safe online. Scammers and fraudsters are behind nefarious email attacks that leave plenty of victims in their wake. Let’s investigate!
Hook, Line, & Sinker! How to Get One Up on Phishing Attacks
To quote the late, great Abraham Lincoln, ‘You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’ Unfortunately, too many victims suffer as a result of phishing attacks. It’s important to put things into perspective, so let’s examine exactly what these phishing attacks entail, and then develop a basic set of strategies to combat them.
Phishing is defined as follows: ‘… It is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.’
Put differently, it’s a scam that cons you into volunteering personal and financial information. The repercussions of such activity are devastating. If you click on a link, enter sensitive personal information such as username/password data, banking account numbers, PIN numbers, Social Security numbers, address information, and the like, you are inviting catastrophe into your life.
Tried & Trusted Techniques to Combat Phishing Attacks
Of course, it pays to conduct due diligence every time you receive an email from an unknown source. But that’s not enough, since many phishing attacks are actually the result of hackers, scammers, fraudsters, and bad actors infiltrating the accounts of people you know such as friends, family, and colleagues, and then hijacking their accounts to extract sensitive information out of you.
Our point of departure in this regard is the implementation of a fortress-like system of anti-malware, anti-adware, and antivirus protection. There are plenty of terrific products available on the market, pick one that works best for you. Remember to keep your security software up-to-date, by downloading the latest updates, patches, and versions. The same goes for your operating system, whether it’s Windows, Linux, or Mac.
Next up – secure your Internet connection with a world-class Wi-Fi scanner. You may think that your home-based Wi-Fi is safe and secure, but if anybody happens to have the password, or it is easily guessable, you are vulnerable to attack. Phishing scams can be stopped in their tracks by implementing safety mechanisms like WOT Mobile Security & Wi-Fi Scanner Protection. Developed by WOT Services LLD, this application guarantees a safer browsing experience, on mobile devices.
Phishing scammers cannot overcome powerful security mechanisms like WOT which uses community-based input to determine which websites, URLs, links, messages documents, attachments, senders, et cetera are unsafe. This is particularly important with Wi-Fi connectivity, since anyone can theoretically infiltrate an unsafe wireless network and do tremendous damage from within. The WOT community of users, compiles reviews based on real-life experiences. If a website, a hyperlink, or a phishing scam has been identified, it will be red flagged by the system.
Thanks to a complex, proprietary algorithmic system which now rates some 140 million+ websites and assigns a safety rating to them, users can rest assured that phishing attacks get stopped in their tracks. A red warning page immediately pops up before a user clicks on a link, preventing any damage from taking place. It is was a good idea to complement this application with AV software, pop-up blockers, adware blockers, and up-to-date operating systems for maximum protection.
What Does A Typical Phishing Email Entail?
Chances are you have already encountered many phishing scams via email, but your email provider and antivirus software probably do a reasonably good job of filtering out most of them. On the odd occasion that one slips through, it’s pretty easy to identify most of them. Here are some tell-tale features of phishing emails:
- There is always a tremendous sense of urgency to input personal, sensitive information.
- The sender of the phishing email is never a legitimate person or entity; if you run your mouse over the ‘From’ button in your email, the email address is extremely suspect.
- Scrutinize the hyperlinks in the email body itself – they always redirect elsewhere, other than where they purport to be coming from. A hyperlink to Wells Fargo bank or the Social Security Administration (SSA) never goes there in a phishing email.
- Phishing scams make outlandish promises of tremendous good fortune coming your way. They may tell you that you’ve won a lottery and you simply need to enter your banking information to receive the payment.
- Avoid opening emails from senders you don’t know, particularly when there are files, folders, attachments, and other documents to deal with. These contain malware, viruses, Trojans, Ransomware, and the like. Forewarned is forearmed.