Protecting Yourself From Phishing Attacks

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As internet scammers are trawling the internet for more and more victims, web users need to become more savvy so they don’t lose all of their personal information and money. If you use any digital software or internet provider, you need to be careful about being scammed. However, phishing attacks can be notoriously difficult to spot. These scammers have many different methods and are able to target almost everyone. However, this article will give you the rundown on what phishing attempts are around, how to spot them, how to protect yourself, and what you can do if you, unfortunately, fall victim to one of these scammers.

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is basically a message that tricks a web user into downloading malware that steals their personal and financial information. They will masquerade as a trusted identity or organisation so as to not arouse suspicion. They have stolen many people’s identities this way.

What Does Phishing Look Like?

Phishing can take multiple different forms. Some of the most common types include:

Email Phishing

Most phishing attempts are sent via email. They will use fake domain names that look very similar to a legitimate organisation’s domain. For example, they will add or replace characters eg ‘your-bank.com’ instead of ‘yourbank.com.’ The email will have a link to a website, pretending it’s something such as a ‘change your password’ link. When clicked, the link will steal your information. Some of these phishing attempts even get people to enter their personal data themselves by submitting to a fake website.

Spear Phishing/Whaling

These attempts will be targeted to a specific person. They will often include personal information about the person’s job and colleagues. These emails will try to trick a person into transferring money from their workplace, or manipulate staff into following instructions that might download malware onto their computer. Whaling is like spear phishing, except it attacks senior management and people in high-up roles. These attacks often use sensitive personal information to threaten the victim into handing over money or assets. Businesses often employ cyber security services to try to reduce the effects of these phishing attacks.

Angler Phishing

These attacks will use fake social media accounts pretending to be a well known franchise. They prey on people wanting to complain or talk to a customer service person. When the person makes a complaint, they will ask for personal information in order to be able to help them. Instead, the scammers actually just steal their information.

How Can You Spot Phishing Attempts?

Even though phishing scammers can be very savvy, there are often tells which you can spot to be able to identify a phishing attempt.

Urgency

If the email is threatening dire consequences if you don’t input your personal information, you can be almost certain that it is a phishing attempt. Real communication from actual legitimate organisations will not try to rush you into making a decision.

Inappropriate

Sometimes phishing scammers are not as savvy as you might believe. If the tone of an email is overly casual when coming from a business, you can be sure that it is a phishing attempt. Always carefully read your emails to make sure your correspondence is really coming from the sender, and not an impostor.

Unusual Requests

If an email is asking you to do non-standard tasks, it is usually a phishing attempt. For example, if you get an email from your bank asking you to input credit card details, but it is usually a specific credit card team that deals with it, the email is most likely a phishing attempt.

Linguistic Errors

Most legitimate companies use spell check and writers to draft emails when sending them out to people. If there are errors in the grammar or spelling, be suspicious. This would not be typical of a professional, legitimate company.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

There are many ways you can protect yourself online, and prevent phishing attacks from stealing your personal information and data. Some of the main ways include:

Security Software

Ensuring that your security software is up to date is one of the best things you can do, as out-of-fate security software is more likely to be susceptible to a breach. Taking the time to ensure all of your devices’ security software is well updated will significantly help you fight a phishing attack.

Back Up Data

Another key way you can protect yourself from phishing attempts is to back up all of your data through multiple different avenues. A lot of the malware used in phishing attempts can also wipe your entire device of all your data, so if you fall victim to a phishing attempt, you have a backup where you can store all of your data.

Remember if you get any phishing emails, to report them to your country’s fraud agency. If you’ve lost a substantial amount of money, make sure to contant wealth recovery attorneys who specialise in retrieving money lost through cyber scams, so you can try and get some of your money back. Protecting yourself from phishing attempts should be at the forefront of your mind if you’re using the internet in the modern world. Make sure to take these steps to protect yourself from phishing.