January 11, 2016
Phishing scams are becoming dangerously common. According to research from the Government of Canada, over 156 million phishing emails are sent every day. Most phishing emails are caught by spam filters and others are obviously bogus, but many are convincing. You need to be aware of the dangers phishing attacks pose and take the steps to protect yourself.
What Is a Phishing Attack?
In September, the FBI reported that a single phishing scam cost victims $1.2 billion in losses. Over 8,000 victims from nearly 80 countries had their money stolen. The victims were primarily organizations that worked with foreign suppliers.
This is one of many phishing attacks that have exploited people. How can you identify a similar scam before you fall victim?
Phishing attacks are attempts to steal sensitive personal information. Rather than relying solely on malware, they use social engineering to dupe the target into providing the information.
Most phishing attacks are launched through email, but they can be organized via social networking sites as well. They usually focus on stealing social security numbers, passwords and financial information.
Tips to Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams
While most phishing scams are easy to identify, others are very sophisticated. You need to be on your guard anytime someone tries to get this information. Here are some tips to protect yourself.
Look at Email Handles
Many phishing attacks use free email accounts from services such as Hotmail or Outlook. Look at the email address to see if the sender is using any of these accounts. A reputable organization is going to use their own vanity email addresses.
Try to Avoid Visiting Through Email Links
If you are suspicious about the links in your emails, then avoid clicking them. You should instead go directly to the company site whenever possible. You can usually find the key pages on their website without much effort. If you do need to click links, then you should only do so after verifying the sender first.
White List Important Contacts
If you have a provider that sends sensitive information (such as your bank), then you will want to white list them in your email contacts. You want to be able to separate them from spammers trying to impersonate them. Almost all email providers have the option to white list contacts, so take advantage of them.
Check Privacy and User Agreements
Most organizations have policies about the type of information that they will request. For example, many will stipulate that they will never ask for your password or security PIN. If anyone asks for this information, then they are either an employee that isn’t following protocols or a scammer impersonating them.
Use Malware Protection Software
You may not be able to identify every phishing attempt. There may times that you click a link in your email that looked legitimate. You will want to at least have the best possible malware protection services available to mitigate the risks. Nokia Networks offers a number of services to protect users against malware and other threats.
Take Phishing Threats Seriously
Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly common. You need to be aware of the threats and have the right safeguards in place to protect against them.
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