Security Tips: How to Prevent Phishing Attacks
Stay informed about phishing techniques – New phishing scams are developing all the time. Without being aware of these new phishing techniques, you might inadvertently fall prey to one. Keep your eyes peelfor news of new phishing scams. After learning about them as soon as possible, you will have a much lower risk of being caught by one. For IT administrators, ongoing security awareness training and simulated phishing are strongly recommended for all users to maintain security throughout the organization.
Think before you click! – You can click links when you are on trusted sites. When you click on links that appear in random emails and instant messages, however, it’s not such a smart move. Hover over the links you’re not sure about before you click them. They’re taking you where they’re supposed to take you? A phishing email may claim to be from a legitimate company and when you click on the link to the website, it may look exactly like the real website. The email may ask you to enter the information, but the email may not contain your name. Most phishing emails will start with “Dear Customer”, so you should be vigilant when encountering these emails. If in doubt, go directly to the source instead of clicking on a potentially dangerous link.
Install an Anti-Phishing Toolbar – Popular Internet browsers can be customized with anti-phishing toolbars. These toolbars run quick checks on the sites you are visiting and compare them with lists of known phishing sites. If you run into a malicious site, the toolbar will notify you to it. This is just another layer of protection against phishing scams, and it’s completely free.
Check the security ingescing of a site – It’s natural to be a little careful to provide sensitive financial information online. However, as long as you are on a secure website, you should not have any problems. Before you submit any information, make sure that the URL of the site starts with “https” and that there is a closed lock icon near the address bar. Also check the site security certificate. If you see a message that a particular website might contain malicious files, do not open the web site. Never download files from suspicious emails or websites. Search engines can also display some links that can lead users to a phishing website that offers low-cost products. If you make purchases on that website, cyber-criminals will access your credit card information.
Check your online accounts regularly: If you haven’t visited an online account for a while, someone might have a field day with them. Even if you technically don’t need to do so, check each of your online accounts on a regular basis. Get used to changing your passwords regularly as well. To avoid bank phishing scams and credit cards, you need to personally check your statements. Get monthly statements for your financial accounts and carefully review each item to make sure that no fraudulent transactions have been made without your knowledge.
Keep your browser up to date – Security patches are released for popular browsers all the time. They are released in response to the security loopholes that phishers and other hackers inevitably discover and exploit. If you normally ignore messages about updating browsers, stop. When an update becomes available, download and install it.
Use firewalls: High-quality firewalls act as buffers between you, your computer, and external intruders. You must use two different types: a desktop firewall and a network firewall. The first option is a type of software and the second is a type of hardware. When used together, they drastically reduce the chances of hackers and phishers infiltrating your computer or network.
Be wary of Pop-Ups – Pop-ups often pose as legitimate components of a website. Too often, however, they are phishing attempts. Many popular browsers allow you to block pop-ups; you can allow it on a case-by-case basis. If you manage to slide through the cracks, do not click the “Cancel” button; such buttons often lead to phishing sites. Instead, click the small “x” in the upper corner of the window.
Never provide personal information – As a general rule, you should never share personal or financially sensitive information on the Internet. This rule extends to the days of America Online, when users had to be constantly warned due to the success of the first phishing scams. If in doubt, go to visit the main site of the company in question, get their number and call them. Most phishing emails will direct you to pages where you need entries for financial or personal information. An Internet user should never make sensitive entries through the links provided in the emails. Never send an email with confidential information to anyone. Make it a habit to check the website address. A secure website always starts with “https”.
Use antivirus software – There are many reasons to use antivirus software. Special signatures included in antivirus software protect against known technological solutions and gaps. Just make sure you keep the software up to date. New definitions are added all the time, because new scams are also being dreamed up all the time. Antispyware and firewall settings should be used to prevent phishing attacks, and users must update programs regularly. Firewall protection prevents access to malicious files by blocking attacks. Antivirus software scans all files that arrive via the Internet to your computer. Helps prevent damage to the system.