Phishing is an illegal process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as passwords, usernames, and credit card details through the creation of fake websites.
Phishing is commonly carried out by a hacker sending emails in bulk or by leaving emails on social media sites. The term phishing relates to the act of trying to catch financial information and passwords.
Spam is basically unsolicited emails to your mailbox. Spam is not only a nuisance but also a drag on your network bandwidth, as it takes up a considerable amount of space, while helping spread malicious files, in some cases.
- The headache of phishing and spam emails.
- The real possibility of an end user handing over confidential login data to a fake website.
- The financial loss attributed to a hacker illegally acquiring your personal banking details.
- The possibility of your identity being stolen, as a result of you, handing the hacker your personal and business information.
- Phishing websites utilize social engineering methods to persuade you to click on their links, which takes you to their fake websites. It may be a warning about a possible password expiry or inactivity on an account, all of which encourages you to log back into the said account.
When the user enters their login details or some other details into these websites, their information is harvested, the hacker can then access all this confidential information, which has been saved in a file on the server.
An example of the types of email you may receive will be something like this: Your personal bank account has been comprised, log into your account to verify your details. This is probably one of the most popular methods to acquire your data, that is why companies will always tell you to manually type the URL into the Address Bar.
Tips to Protect You from Phishing
1. Make sure your sensitive data is protected during transmission over networks that are non-protected. This can be done, not only with encryption methods but also be very careful when sending confidential information.
2. If you’re in doubt about a sender of a particular email, then you should check the specified URL, bearing in mind that sender addresses can be forged. Typically, your bank or online store will have a secure website (https://). Consider opening the URL in a second browser window to check the authenticity of the bank or online store website. If you are ever invited by an email to confirm a specific link, which goes directly to a website where you are asked to enter your personal login details, then you should definitely be suspicious. Banks and online shops will usually instruct you to visit the website by manually typing the URL into the address bar.
3. Only download programs from trusted websites. This way you can be sure that whatever you download will be free of malicious files, usually Trojan horses, which gives the hacker backdoor access to your computer. You should also stay clear of P2P networks, as they can leave your system vulnerable to a plethora of cyber attacks.
4. Make sure you’re familiar with whoever is using the internet through your router. Consider password protecting your internet, so that unauthorized individuals are unable to log onto your network.
5. Use Internet Security software, such as antispyware, antimalware and antivirus tools. New worms, Trojan horses, and viruses are being created every day. You can only protect your system against such threats with the appropriate security software that is regularly updated with new virus definitions.
6. Consider using the various security options that are available on your web browser. This way, users will be asked to confirm, whenever the browser is required to load a Java applet or cookie. However, one must keep in mind that cookies are essential to online website stores and various other online facilities, such as banking.
Use Common Sense
All of the information that I have provided you with above may make things seem a tad scary, but it shouldn’t really. In most cases, the simple common sense is enough to protect you from the vast majority of phishing scams, emails, and viruses.