When you run a business, you have access to significant amounts of sensitive information that could be devastating in the wrong hands. The same thing applies when you go about your regular business. Whenever you shop online or access your bank account, you are providing information that could be extremely detrimental to your life if accessed by a malicious source. Phishing attacks are essentially methods for tricking victims into providing this valuable information, so it is vital to be aware of the ins and outs of a phishing attack, so that you can effectively protect yourself against them. Here at Crossaction Computers, we offer an array of services that are designed to help you protect your information from unauthorized access. Whenever you are concerned about protecting your personal information, you should contact our experts immediately!
What are Phishing Attacks?
A phishing attack is a technique that is used to try to gather personal information using either deceptive emails or websites. They may also be used to trick individuals into downloading harmful malware onto their computer. It is a cyber attack that implements fraudulent emails or websites as weapons. A phishing attack often involves masquerading as a trusted entity, such as a bank or big company. Phishing attacks are incredibly common, as they are a game of numbers that cast out many various lines and wait for a bite.
The term “phishing” derives from an analogy regarding the method that phishing attacks use. Similar to how an angler casts out a baited hook and waits for a bite, a phisher sends out emails and waits for a response. These attacks are growing more sophisticated over time, which is why it is incredibly important to be able to identify a protect yourself from a phishing attack.
How to Identify a Phishing Attack
There are many common signs that may allow you to identify a phishing attack. These attacks come most often from email, though there are other methods through which a phishing attack may occur. Generic greetings can indicate a phishing attack. Be very wary when receiving emails that say “Dear valued customer,” or another general term, rather than your name. A phishing attack will likely request personal information and will be formulated to promote a sense of urgency. An email that seems vaguely threatening or urgent could very well be a phishing attack. Keep in mind that in emergency situations, the company is far more likely to call you than send you an email.
Watch for spoofed links, like links that don’t bring up the same name when you hover the mouse over them or links that redirect you to different sites. Check for spelling or grammar mistakes. Any reputable business takes their correspondence and image incredibly seriously. Spelling mistakes are a red flag. If the email offers an option that sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Be alert whenever you go through your email as any email is a potential threat. Whenever you are in doubt, call the company directly through a verified number or send a separate email to a verified email address. Do not hit reply but respond through a separate email.
Types of Phishing Attacks
There are multiple types of phishing attacks, though they all generally have the same goal. They are all essentially an attempt to trick the victim into either handing over sensitive information or downloading malware. The most common type of phishing is general email phishing, which sends out mass emails to people and likely feature a general greeting.
Spear phishing is a type of phishing attack that is aimed at an individual and will contain specific information. This requires the phisher to do research about the target, but the personal information may be more convincing to the victim. Be aware that this is a strategy that phishers use. Just because they know some personal information about you does not mean that they are a legitimate source. Whaling is very similar to spear phishing but is aimed at high-value targets, such as the CEO of a company or a company board member. Not every phishing technique implements email as the fraudulent method of communication. For example, vishing has the same goal as email phishing, but is done by phone call. Smishing is similar but is done through text message.
Protecting Yourself from a Phishing Attack
Knowing how to protect yourself from a phishing attack will help to keep your important information safe from unauthorized access. It is important to be sensible and wary whenever you go through your emails. Be extremely suspicious whenever an email asks you for confidential information. Be similarly suspicious if an email is threatening or exceptionally urgent. Don’t use public and unsecured Wi-Fi networks for banking, shopping, or entering personal information. Don’t click on links, even if they seem to be from a secure source.
Refrain from posting personal information, such as your address or phone number, on social media sources. It is important for business owners to ensure that all of their employees are thoroughly trained regarding phishing attacks and how to safely use their email or other internet processes. Whenever you are in doubt regarding an email that you have received, call the company directly. Implementing protective software to your equipment is an incredibly important component in keeping your data protected.
Phishing attacks can be devastating to any person or business. It is important to understand how they function and how to protect yourself from them. Here at Crossaction Computers, we provide a multitude of services that are designed to keep all of your technological processes safe and secure. Contact our experts to learn more about how to protect yourself from phishing attacks and keep your business safe. We offer services for businesses and personal residences alike to ensure the best possible functionality for your technology. These services include everything from firewalls to enhance your network’s security to email solutions to ensure that your company’s email operates effectively and securely. We also offer virus protection and removal services.