Now that everyone has access to the Internet, phishing prevention has become one of the essential practices in the online world. Because as technology advances, more and more criminals are turning to online scams to make quick money. And across the web, phishing attacks have manipulated unsuspecting victims into giving their personal information ranging from bank details, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and more.
And as a netizen, you should know a thing or two about phishing – how it works, what it looks like, and how you can avoid them.
How To Recognize Phishing Scams
It’s easy to get confused about whether an email is a phishing scam, especially now that some hackers can customize the message and put your name on it. However, it’s crucial to clearly grasp what phishing scams are and how you can identify one with just one look. Here are some clear indications of a phishing message:
- The email or text message is sent from a personal phone number or public email domain
- The letter is poorly written (take note of proper punctuation and grammar).
- It urges you to click on a link or open an attachment
- The overall tone of the message makes it seem so urgent
Tips To Avoid Phishing
Don’t Open Untrusted Links And Attachments
Although a bit cliche, it is crucial to think before you click. If you ever receive a random email or message that redirects you to a foreign link, it’s a phishing scam. Some hackers will try to impersonate credible institutions, so it would be best if you could hover over the link to get a mini-preview of its content. If it does not look like the website of the supposed page it should redirect you to, don’t click on it.
Plus, most phishing emails open with “Dear Customer” instead of your actual name. So, upon reading it, you have reason to be wary about the email.
Invest In Anti-Phishing Toolbar
Thanks to technology, most internet browsers are highly customizable with anti-phishing toolbars. These toolbars are entirely free and run speedy credibility checks on websites you’re about to visit and compare them to a detailed list of known phishing sites.
If you ever run across a malicious site, the toolbar will make sure to alert you about it. This extra layer of protection will allow you to enjoy a scam-free Internet experience.
Always Verify A Website’s Security
You should know that it’s completely natural to be cautious about supplying sensitive information online. And before providing any info, ensure that the website’s URL starts with “https” and a closed lock icon by the address bar. In addition, you may also opt to check the website’s security certificate for maximum protection.
And did you know that your browser will inform you if a particular website cannot be trusted? Although you’ll have the option to open the website anyway, doing this may lead to detrimental hacking results.
Always Keep All Browsers Updated
If you want to remain safe from phishing scams and other cyberattacks, you shouldn’t forget to keep your browsers up to date. Developers often release security patches to ensure that hackers won’t find new vulnerabilities to explore as a way to access your device. So if you usually ignore update pop-ups and reminders, it’s time to re-evaluate your choices!
Install High-Quality Firewalls
A firewall will act as a cushion between you, your computer, and unauthorized intruders. For your safety, a multifaceted approach would be the most efficient. Therefore, you should look for two variants: a network firewall and a desktop firewall.
On the one hand, the network firewall is a type of hardware, while the desktop variant is a type of software. But, on the other hand, using them together significantly reduces your chances of bumping into hackers and phishers.
Stay Cautious Of Random Pop-Ups
Other than using SMS and email, hackers also try experimenting with pop-up windows as a way to impose a phishing attack. And although most browsers give you the option to block pop-ups, hackers might find ways to slip through the cracks. If this ever happens, don’t click on the “cancel” button because this could easily lead to phishing sites. Instead, you should click on the “X” icon in the window’s upper corner.
Never Willingly Provide Personal Information
Most phishing scams will direct you to sites where you need to give financial and personal information to push through with the process. But as a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t share personal and financial information online unless you’re on a trusted page. So if you’re on a foreign site, get the company’s number and call them to verify their identity.
Phishing scams are made to look as if they’re from a credible company you trust. But, in fact, hacktivists are known for their creativity by making a hack look like they’re from a credit card company, a bank, a social media site, an online payment app, and more. And it’s important to note that some hackers have specific targets in mind –cyberattacks to cryptoassets. But while phishing is a challenging problem to tackle, you’ll find it easier to avoid by staying informed and updated with the latest trends in the realm of cybersecurity. And with the simple tips that have been highlighted in this article, you’ll have better chances of minimizing the risk of falling for a phishing scam.