How To Become Cyber Savvy And Protect Yourself from Phishing
Find out how to protect yourself from phishing. We explore what is phishing, the different types of phishing attacks, and how to avoid them.
Phishing is undoubtedly a significant threat to the digital world. And since phishing techniques are becoming more sophisticated by the day, more and more people are falling into these traps.
Phishing is a social engineering attack by hackers where they try to trick unsuspecting and ill-informed targets into giving up their sensitive information.
It is one of the most commonly used methods that hackers use to gain information like bank account details, credit/debit card information, social security number, usernames, passwords, etc.
Phishing attacks can take place anytime and to anyone because most scammers send their attacks in bulk and without specific targets.
So, it’s the responsibility of every internet user, irrespective of professional and personal, to become familiar with the primary protection against phishing scams.
Failing to recognize between genuine and fake messages can lead to some dangerous consequences.
Table of Contents
- Find out how to protect yourself from phishing. We explore what is phishing, the different types of phishing attacks, and how to avoid them.
Types Of Phishing Scams And Protection Against Them
- Email Phishing Scams
- Vishing Scams
- Cold-Call Scams Pretending To Be Tech Support
- Pop-Up Phishing
- Fake Search Results
Types Of Phishing Scams And Protection Against Them
When we talk about phishing, it is essential to know that they come not only in the form of emails; phishing attacks can come in various ways, such as phone calls i.e. vishing (VOIP phishing), cold calls, browser pop-ups, and fake search results.
Since the phishers design their scams to look like other messages arriving from credible sources, it can become very challenging to differentiate between legitimate and fraudulent messages. Awareness of the different phishing techniques and how to protect against these scams will help you to avoid becoming a victim.
Email Phishing Scams
Email phishing is a standard phishing attack to trick people into clicking on a fraudulent link or URL. Attackers send these emails in bulk in the hope of landing at least a few takers (obviously those who are not aware of opening and handling of emails). They usually impersonate someone or some organization that is well-known to the target. They aim to collect critical personal and financial information from the recipient of their messages.
Well-composed phishing messages sometimes make it difficult to recognize as fake, but the below points can help people to stay safe from such attacks.
How To Protect Yourself From Email Phishing
- Always be mindful during handling emails and investigate each link before taking any action.
- Email recipients must not click on any links in an email that they find somewhat suspicious. Moreover, they should also stay away from downloading attachments before verifying the email.
- If the message gives an instruction to visit any website and provides links for the same, it is better to do so by opening it in their browsers instead of from the link provided.
- It’s true that busy professionals regularly handle hundreds of emails; but, they must pay attention to each of the communication before taking any action. Otherwise, it can be a significant threat to their organization.
- Phishers are experts in the mimicry of logos to present a legitimate impression. Furthermore, spoofed email addresses can also be a part of their communication so that recipients can perceive them as genuine. But, the email address might have spelling mistakes, which is a clear indication of a phishing email.
- The email address can also consist of a spoofed domain. And without proper attention, it’s not possible to track these clues.
Vishing is another type of phishing. Vishing or VoIP phishing is nothing but a voice-call version of email phishing. Other than that, it’s the same scam attack as email phishing.
Under this setting, cybercriminals try to trick people into getting access to their confidential, sensitive financial, and personal information. But, proper protective precautions help one to stay safe from such scams.
How To Protect Yourself From Vishing
- You must not share your confidential information over phone calls: Cybercriminals call people, claim to be from an official source, and trick callers to share their data. A reputed organization with proper security policies will never request sensitive information over voice calls.
- If you get such calls, you must cut the call and check the original organization’s website. After finding out their contact number, it’s time to call them and verify whether or not it was the right call.
- You must stay away from calling a number the caller has provided: Calling the numbers that a caller (a potential phisher) has provided can lead to some adverse outcomes. So, you should find out the contact numbers on the official website first if possible, and the secret of that number will reveal automatically.
Cold-Call Scams Pretending To Be Tech Support
Cybercriminals can also call an individual by pretending to be representatives of a well-known security enterprise. Phishers trick that person by telling him or her that they have detected malware on his/her system.
The real intention of these criminals is to convince that person to install a kind of remote desktop software. Falling into this trap means phishers will get access to that system by installing malware.
How To Protect Yourself From Cold-Call Phishing
- Checking out the phone numbers of the actual organization: Once a person calls and claims to be a technical support representative or an employee of a specific organization, people must start checking and confirming the real organization’s contact number online.
- Allowing remote access to your computer is a strict No-No: People must not enable remote access to their computers to stay away from phishing scams and their dangerous consequences.
Malicious pop-ups can be hazardous. These fraudulent pop-ups can display a warning message that the user’s computer is under attack by malware. They trick users by providing a contact number for the solution.
How To Protect Yourself From Pop-Up Phishing
- Always check the message thoroughly to find out signs of phishing, such as spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and unprofessional appearance.
- If something seems amiss, refrain from clicking on the pop-up and run your anti-virus program instead.
- Legitimate pop-ups usually appear only within the security organization’s interface. Also, most reputable organizations do not send unsolicited pop-ups promising to fix users’ computers if they grant them remote access.
Fake Search Results
Fraudsters often use paid services of search engines to list their sites on prominent locations on SERPs. They lure victims with promises of support services that are too good to be true. If you enter these sites or click on the ads, you may unknowingly download malware into your system and compromise the security of your database.
How To Protect Yourself From Fake Search Results Scams
- Always validate the URLs provided. Scammers usually create fake sites with a small variation of the domain name they are impersonating.
- Use secure search services to know the credibility of the websites you visit.
Protecting yourself from phishing attacks may seem like a daunting task since there are a lot of phishing strategies in existence and phishers keep on inventing newer and more advanced techniques to trick people. However, knowing the anti-phishing techniques, proper attention to details in the email ‘subject’ line, and a thorough examination of all emails, calls, or any other suspicious online activities before taking online actions will protect you from phishing scams quite well.