How Can I Protect Myself From A Phishing Attack?
As we are reading more about cybercrime than ever before, it’s important to know how to better protect ourselves from hacks and attacks.
Image by Pete Linforth
Online criminals are becoming more skilled and continuously developing new techniques to get hold of your data, so it’s important to be vigilant.
In this new, regular column, our IT Correspondent and managing director of Systemwork, Jamie Durham, will be providing us with his top tips for preventing breaches, and in this instalment he tackles phishing.
Phishing emails are just one tactic cyber-criminals use to obtain your sensitive information – such as usernames, passwords or bank details – as they are disguised as trustworthy messages.
When we receive an email from a friend, business or colleague we simply don’t suspect anything sinister, and willingly click on links and attachments without a second thought.
So, how can you prevent this from happening?
Check the source
It’s better to be over-cautious, so you should always be alert and suspicious of all external communication, and examine where the message has come from.
Think about whether you were expecting the email and what exactly it is asking you for, which will help you determine the legitimacy of it.
The simplest – and quickest – way to get to the bottom of it, is to pick up the phone and speak directly to the person or business who sent it, to follow it up.
Do your research
There are tonnes of online resources available which will highlight the latest phishing tactics to look out for, so it’s a good idea to read these to stay in the loop.
Share your findings with your peers too, so they can stay vigilant – and hopefully, they’ll return the favour.
Don’t share your personal data
This may seem obvious, but never share financially sensitive information over the internet.
Even via email to someone that you trust – they are open to the outside world, so mail can be intercepted at any time. Privately message someone, call them or speak to them face-to-face.
Invest in antivirus software
Antivirus software on your PC will continuously record and monitor information in order to prevent attacks.
It will also scan every file which comes through the internet to your computer and help to prevent damage to your system.
It’s important to remember to keep such software up-to-date at all times, as this will ensure nothing slips through the net.
Don’t forget about phones
Voice scams – also known as ‘vishing’ – will contact you directly and typically impersonate someone from an official source, such as a bank or government organisation.
They will try to convince you to reveal pin numbers, credit card security codes and passwords, but it’s important to never hand over this information. Instead put the phone down and contact the source directly to verify the authenticity of the call.
Remember, there is no single fool-proof way to avoid phishing attacks, but equally you shouldn’t live in fear of them.
By keeping these tips in mind you will be able to enjoy a worry-free, online experience.