How to Avoid Phishing Attacks
Did you know that many data breaches start with a spear-phishing attack? Scammers use text messages and email to trick you into giving them personal information. However, there are several things you can do to avoid phishing attacks. One of them is using phishing tests as an additional security layer.
Nowadays, phishing your own users is just like having an antivirus and a firewall. It is an effective cybersecurity practice to patch your last line of defense. If you don’t do it yourself, scammers will.
How to Recognize Phishing Attacks
Hackers may try to steal Social Security Numbers, passwords or account numbers. If they get successful, they could access your email or other accounts. Daily, thousands of phishing attacks get launched and are often successful. Following that, the FBI reported that $57 million gets lost to phishing schemes annually.
Often, hackers update their tactics, but there are signs to help you recognize a phishing scheme. Phishing links and messages may look like they’re from a company you know. They may look like they got sent from:
A credit card company
A social networking site
An online payment app or website
An online store
A website with premium account features
Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you. They may do the following:
Say they have noticed log-in attempts or suspicious activity
Claim there is an issue with your account or payment information
Indicate you should confirm some personal information
Require you to click a link to make a payment
Offer a coupon for free commodities
Indicate you are eligible for a government refund
At a glance, scamming emails might look real to a target. The scammers don’t have anything to do with the companies they pose to be. Phishing attacks have real consequences. For instance, they harm the reputation of companies they spoof.
How To Avoid Phishing Attacks
Now, email spams filter out many phishing emails out of your inbox. Yet, scammers continually try to outsmart spam filters. As a result, it is a good idea to add extra layers of protection.
Here are steps you can follow to avoid phishing attacks.
Use security software to protect your computer.
To deal with new threats, set the software to update automatically.
Set software to update automatically to protect your phone.
Updates provide you with critical protection against security threats.
Use multi-factor authentication to protect your accounts.
Some accounts need two or more credentials to access them. This offers extra security. The process is known as multi-factor authentication. The credential needed to log in fall into two categories.
Something you have, like a passcode, you get through an authentication app.
Something like a scan of your fingerprint or face or retina.
Multi-factor authentication makes it difficult for scammers to log in to your account. That is, if they do not get your password or username.
Back up your data.
Back up your data and ensure the backups aren’t connected to your home networks. For example, copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Also, back up your phone’s data.
What To Do In case of an Attack
If you get a suspicious link or message, ask yourself if you are familiar with the sender. If your answer is “No,” then it could be a phishing scam. For this reason, go back and review the tips on how to recognize a phishing scam. Once you see them, report the message and then delete it.
If the answer is “yes,” contact the company. Do that using a phone number or website you know is real. Do not use the information given in the email. Links and attachments can install harmful malware.
Even so, if you think a scammer has your information, then go to IdentityTheft.gov. Here, you’ll see the steps to take based on the data lost.
Unfortunately, you can click a link or open an attachment that downloads harmful software. If so, then update your computer’s security software. After that, run a scan.
Phishing Scams and the Dark Web
The dark web is a haven for many criminal activities. Contraband like weapons, fake IDs, and confidential data are in the dark market. Moreover, research shows that advanced phishing kits are also available. This doesn’t mean that phishing is a new phenomenon.
Phishing is one of the most dominant forms of cyberattack. Reports claim that 91% of cyberattacks begin with phishing emails. Indeed, the trend is worrying.
The phishing kits on sale allow anyone to run their own phishing scam. The kits are a relatively cheap option for cybercriminals. In fact, typical kits cost $20 - $50. Payment in the darknet usually is via cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. The kits promise to capture basic details about victims, such as passwords.
Besides, there is a newly discovered kit that is a beast altogether. For this reason, it costs a lot more. The software provides an entire site for capturing victim’s financial information. It comes with a heftier price tag of about $300. Undoubtedly, what you get for your money is very impressive.
The kit allows you to build many fake sites that mimic well-known e-commerce portals. For example, scammers can impersonate Walmart and other US companies. Even an inexperienced scammer can create a fake site.
Cybercriminals cover their tracks when using the dark web to avoid law enforcement. They do so by using the Tor browser alongside a VPN.
You should always ensure that any sites you visit are hardened against phishing attacks. Otherwise, not only your personal information will be stolen but also your customers’. Hence, it is a necessity to protect your customers from phishing attacks.
Free phishing security test
You can find out what percentage of your employees are phish-prone. To do so, use a free phishing security test. The reason being, nobody wants to fall prey to phishing scams.
Note that cybercriminals make massive profits from phishing scams. Thus, such scams will only continue. But by keeping the preceding tips in mind, you can enjoy a worry-free online experience. Firewall and anti-spyware settings and should be used to avoid phishing attacks.
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