Of all the scams there are in the world, phishing scams are the most common. The emails seem innocuous enough and many people fall for them and continue to do so even now. But there are ways to avoid cyber attacks, especially ones which are as common as these. But before discussing that it’s important to understand:
What is phishing?
The problem with phishing emails are many, but most of them begin with a single link. There is generally one link that is attached to the mail. The content of the mail itself asks the reader to click it. What happens next is the actual phishing. The recipient is then taken to a very authentic-looking but fake website. The website tries to coax the user to put in vital personal information like a password or username. Others try to get financial data as well.
If the miscreant can successfully get this information then he or she will use it to further their criminal activity. They will then proceed to steal from the account. The one major way to protect oneself against such emails and prevent email phishing is to always be on guard. But there’s more you can do apart from being on a lookout.
Best ways to avoid phishing?
There are a lot of ways to avoid phishing attacks. This is tied to both user behaviour as well as other ways to prevent software and hardware vulnerability. But most of these methods aren’t stated clearly as a phishing prevention guide in most cases. But here you can follow these as a rule book. So here are the best practices guide phishing prevention:
Don’t click on the hyperlinks in the email
This one is one of the best phishing email prevention methods. It is also pretty straightforward and easy. Of course, you can click on the links sent by friends you know or from correspondences you trust. But if it’s from someone you don’t know or if it’s from someone posing as your bank or another corporation, then it’s better to not click on it. Many times the emails are written so professionally that it’s hard to distinguish the real from the fake. This is why if you aren’t sure then you can try typing in the URL through a safe browser to check it out. Use a VPN for added protection.
Don’t put in sensitive information just anywhere
This might seem a very common sense thing to do, but phishing scams upgrade themselves every day to seem more and more authentic. The only way is to ensure that you don’t put in sensitive information in a pop-up box or window. No reputed site will have its user put in important financial information in a pop-up box. At the most you might be asked to sign up to the site’s newsletter, etc. using your email ID. But that’s it.
Verify the HTTPS on the Address Bar
When people ask- how to prevent phishing? Then they most commonly don’t know about this method. If you are being asked by a reputed site to convey your personal or financial information then ensure that the address bar says “HTTPS”. This is different from the standard ” HTTP” you see everywhere on the internet. The “S” at the end of it confirms that the data you are sending is being sent using a legitimate and secure channel. A little precaution like this will go a long way.
Upgrade your antivirus and install an anti-spam software
In the list of things which might seem like common sense, but isn’t done by a lot of people, upgrading the antivirus is one of them. This is one of phishing prevention best practices. Know that thieves and scammers are always changing their tactics and schemes so you must keep your antivirus software updated to deal with it. Your antivirus is a vital defense against phishing scams.
Another way to make yourself secure is by making use of anti-spam software. This kind of software ensures a degree of protection against scams and phishing attacks. You will find that this software will very naturally filter out a lot of the emails which are looking to scam you. So if you can then make use of it.
Install an anti-spy software and firewall
This will come in the 5 best practices against phishing list. Utilize the tools at your disposal and make use of this software. An anti-spy software lessens the presence of spyware on your PC. This ensures that you are at a lesser risk of being exposed. But know that it just lessens and doesn’t eliminate the chance of getting spyware.
Another way you can prevent phishing attacks to an extent is by installing and maintaining a reliable firewall. A good firewall should be able to protect you from a destructive code entering your computer. It should be able to stop most of the malicious phishing attacks but there’s always room for error. So you still need to personally be careful.
Shield yourself against the DNS Pharming Attacks
DNS Pharming Attacks are phishing attacks, but they aren’t done through emails or hyperlinks attached there. In this kind of attack, the local DNS server of an individual is poisoned. As a result, if someone wants to go to a particular site, then they get rerouted somewhere else. This fake site looks like the real thing and its main objective is to get your financial and personal information from you. DNS Pharming attacks are done on every kind of site. It can be done on the site of your bank as well. The only way to surely get rid of such phishing attacks is by locking down a DNS server through various techniques.
All of these form parts of preventing phishing attacks best practices guide. These techniques will help you get to tackle the problem of phishing scams. The combination of common sense, as well as protective technology, will ensure that you remain safe and out of reach of this kind of scams. You can certainly add these methods to the forrester best practices phishing prevention tactics.