Phishing is a type of cyber-attack that employs the deployment of a spoof email as a weapon. The idea is to fool the email recipient into thinking the message is something they want or need, such as a request from their bank or a letter from a co-worker.
Phishing is the process by which criminals send out false emails and build up fake websites to get personal and financial information from you. These are likely something you get regularly. They may arrive in the shape of a letter from your bank or a “privacy” alert from an online account in your Inbox. They will request that you log in using the email address or confirm details by clicking on a link.
However, when you click on that link, you are not sent to your bank’s website. Instead, you are sent to a front page where the phisher has developed a false website that looks identical to your bank’s website. When you log in to the false website, the phisher saves your login information, redirects you to the genuine website, and steals your bank account information – or any other online account you’ve supplied your login credentials to.
This can result in your complete identity being stolen and used for nefarious purposes such as obtaining phoney loans, credit cards, or other items that will damage your credit and reputation and take years to fix.
HOW TO PREVENT PHISHING ATTACKS
1. Recognize the signs of a phishing attack
New phishing attack tactics are continually being innovated, but they all have several characteristics that may be picked up easily if you know what you are looking for. Many websites exist that will keep you up to date on the most recent phishing attacks and their key identifiers. The sooner you learn about the latest attack methods and share them with your users through regular security awareness training, the better your chances of avoiding an attack are.
2. Do not click that link
Even if you know the sender, it’s not a good idea to click on a link in an email or instant message. Hovering over the link to see if the destination is correct is the bare minimum you should be doing. Some phishing attacks are quite sophisticated, and the destination URL can appear to be a replica of the legitimate site, set up to record keystrokes or steal login/credit card information. If you can access the site directly through your search engine rather than clicking on the link, you should do so.
3. Download anti-phishing add-ons for free
Most modern browsers allow you to install add-ons that detect indicators of a fraudulent website or notify you of known phishing sites. They’re generally absolutely free, so there’s no reason not to have them on every device in your company.
4. Don’t send your personal information to a website that isn’t safe
Do not enter any sensitive information, click on any links or download files from a website that does not begin with “https” or does not have a closed padlock symbol next to the URL. Although it’s possible that sites lacking security certifications aren’t meant for phishing schemes, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
5. Change your passwords regularly
If you have online accounts, you should make it a practice to change your passwords regularly to prevent an attacker from acquiring unrestricted access. Because your accounts may have been hacked without your knowledge, adding an extra layer of security through password rotation can help prevent further assaults and keep potential attackers out.
6. Don’t ignore those notifications
It’s easy to become frustrated when you receive a lot of update messages, and it’s tempting to ignore them. This should not be done. Patches and updates are issued for a cause, the most frequent of which is to stay up with contemporary cyber-attack tactics by plugging security gaps. If you don’t upgrade your browser, you may be vulnerable to phishing attempts based on known flaws that might have been avoided simply.
7. Install firewalls
Firewalls, which function as a barrier between your computer and an attacker, are an efficient approach to avoiding external attacks. When used simultaneously, desktop and network firewalls may improve your security and lower the possibility of a hacker penetrating your network.
8. Don’t be swayed by pop-up ads
Pop-ups aren’t simply annoying; they’re frequently connected to malware as part of phishing scams. Most browsers now allow you to download and install free ad-blocker software that will prevent the most dangerous pop-ups automatically. If you do manage to get over the ad-blocker, don’t be tempted to click! Pop-ups will occasionally try to deceive you with the location of the “Close” button, so always look for an “x” in one of the corners.
9. If you don’t have to, don’t reveal sensitive information
As a general rule, you should not freely give out your credit card information unless you are completely confident with the site you are visiting. If you must supply personal information, ensure that the website is legitimate, that the firm is legitimate, and that the site is secure.
10. Have a Data Security Platform to recognize symptoms of an attack
If sadly, you are unlucky enough to fall foul to a successful phishing attack, then it’s critical that you can notice and react on time. By automatically warning users of unusual user activity and undesirable file modifications, a data security platform relieves some of the load on the IT/Security team. If an attacker has access to your sensitive data, data security platforms can assist you in identifying the account that has been compromised so that you may take steps to avoid future harm.
UK Cyber Security Group Ltd is here to help
If you would like to know more, do get in touch as we are happy to answer any questions.
Looking to improve your cybersecurity but not sure where to start? Begin by getting certified in Cyber Essentials, the UK government’s scheme that covers all the technical controls that will provide the protection that you need to help guard against criminal attacks. Or just get in touch by clicking contact us.