You would have heard about Phishing while talking about digital privacy threats. It’s actually one of the most used methods for data stealing and identity theft. Quite naturally, those who aren’t acquainted with the Internet services become a prey to this malicious act. But, at least some of you would be wondering what is phishing and some working ways you can avoid phishing attacks. In this article, we have covered both — giving you a useful insight to phishing attacks and methods that prevent such attacks.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a method used by cybercriminals to collect confidential information from targeted users. A phishing attack may focus on passwords, usernames, bank account details, Credit Card details or something else valuable. There are two major components in each phishing attack — the bogus site and an email. However, some phishing attacks work with one of these methods too. Now, let’s talk about how phishing is in everyday practice.
How Phishing Works?
Suppose you receive an email from your Banking Service provider. In the seemingly-legitimate email, there is enough basic data about your account, the bank logo and something. The content says that you have to log into your bank account right now and make some changes. The email message will also have a link — which is considerably of a bogus site. If you are clever enough, you would contact the bank officials before logging in. However, when you don’t know about phishing, you go to the bogus site and submit your credentials. When you do that, the hacker will collect your information – username, password, Credit Card data or whatever else – from the forms. And, that’s how a phishing attack affects you.
It needs to be noted that phishing is not limited to banking sites. There are phishing attacks for almost every web service, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Every day, we see the rise of people falling into these traps too. So, the next time you receive a seemingly-legitimate but unusual email from Facebook or Twitter, don’t forget to double-check. Otherwise, you will be in deep troubles of identity theft and money loss. Yes, phishing attacks are meant to track payment info too.
Now, we hope you have an idea how a possible phishing attack work. So, we will move onto some effective ways to avoid phishing attacks and stay safe.
How to Avoid Phishing Attacks?
Well, there are several methods – both manual and automated – ways to protect yourself from phishing attacks. We’ll talk about the prominent ones below.
- Tell Apart Real & Fake Emails — Educate Yourself
This is perhaps the most important and effective way to avoid phishing attacks. As we said, emails are used as the bait for phishing attacks. So, you should be sensible enough not to fall into that pit. There are some ways to tell apart genuine and fake emails. First, banks don’t send your random emails, asking your password or telling you to log in and do something. Second, you should check the source details of an email before responding. Just make sure that the sender email is legit and the message has been encrypted. This way, you can reassure the authenticity of an email message.
- Care when You Share Confidential Data
Where do you share your confidential data such as Credit Card details or banking details? On every website you visit? Oh, that’s bad enough to make yourself a victim of phishing. Make sure that the website is secure before submitting details. First, you should know whether the service is trustworthy, and you can count in WOT Details. Second, make sure that no one else is sneaking into your information exchange, which you can confirm through HTTPS Sign on top.
- Use an Antivirus Software
One of the easiest and effective methods in town, an antivirus software can help you from phishing attacks. Of course, it’s necessary to enable Phishing Protection or Web Protection, after which the tool will analyse your web browsing sessions. When you land on a bogus site by phishing attackers, you will be notified about it. However, you should be using a premium antivirus suite. At the least, you need to have the up-to-date virus definitions for the security product you are using. Also, make sure there is a dedicated Phishing Protection feature in it.
- Use an Ad-Blocker, if Possible
We had talked about adware and spreading methods in one of our previous articles. The same ads are used for phishing attacks too. You would have noticed annoying advertisements coming out of nowhere while you are visiting a website. As a matter of fact, these are seen in not-so-legal sites though. These ad pop-ups will have a login interface to one of popular sites or banking sites. And, needless to say, people use these pop-ups and let hackers exploit their information.
Although the best way to use a premium antivirus, it’s good to educate yourself about phishing attacks. You should have a clear idea about legitimate emails and the trapping ones. So the next time you see someone going to click on a non-safe link or page, you can prevent them. Do you have any other tips to prevent phishing attacks? We would love to know.