January 15, 2020

That Sounds Phishy: 5 Top Tips You Need to Know About Phishing Protection

Don't get phished! If you haven't already, start practicing phishing protection! All your friends, coworkers, and other e-mail contacts will thank you. 

You'll thank them for doing it too, once you've led the way.

In case you didn't know, phishing is "the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers."

In this article, we'll share tips and strategies with you that hopefully will keep you from getting phished--or at least help if you do.

Five Tips for Phishing Protection

What is the best way to prevent phishing? There are many things you should be aware of. Remember that phishing prevention is the best phishing protection.

We'll get you started with the following tips, but you also need to stay up to date on the latest Internet scams.

1. Do You Know Who Sent That E-mail?

If you get an e-mail or text message asking you to click on a link or open an attachment, ask yourself this: "Do I have an account with the company or know the individual who presumably sent me the message?"

Be careful, though. Phishing scammers have gotten quite adept at impersonating people you're likely to know and trust--like the head of your organization. This is called "spear-phishing."

Phishing, especially spear-phishing, can do some serious damage.

2. Check for Identifying Information That Looks Correct...

If you think a message looks correct, perhaps you didn't check carefully enough. There's usually something that exposes the scammer--maybe a domain name extension that should be ".edu" instead of ".net".

Or the name of the supposed sender is misspelled. Or, more deceptively, maybe  their title, while technically correct, isn't what they use. An example: referring to a college provost as Mr. MacDonald instead of Dr. McDonald.

3. Don't Open Files That Seem Odd

Since many files are now shared by self-standing businesses like Dropbox, and since new online businesses pop up frequently, it's easy to think the supposed sender simply used a new service to send you an important file.

If you don't recognize this "new" business, call the purported sender to find out if they actually did send this file. Chances are, by checking, you will alert them that their identity was "borrowed" for a scam.

4. Educate Yourself Thoroughly on Phishing Practices

What is the best way to prevent phishing?

The best protections are awareness and vigilance. Check all e-mail and other messages for suspicious components, especially when sent by a source not known to you. Delete messages of no use to you (and most are).

Expert Internet security training is recommended--and available through many IT departments. Since we've done it with good results, we recommend Kevin Mitnick's Security Awareness Training.

5. Use Anti-Phishing Software as an Extra Check

Anti-phishing software comes in different forms--for example, as part of web browsers, integrated with more comprehensive Internet security packages, or as self-standing programs.

Don't Get Phished!

The best phishing protection, though, is using the vigilance measures discussed above. Like any effective scams, the strategies used in phishing attempts morph constantly, always trying to catch us off guard.

Even though we can no longer get through our days without it, the Internet is a dangerous place to inhabit. It should not be used casually any more than far safer places--like, maybe, the Amazon rain forest or the New York subway system!

By the way, we have some great Internet security products. Why not get in touch and find out how we can help you or your business?

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