Insiders Guide To Preventing Phishing Attacks

Modern-day cybersecurity measures have eliminated most conventional hacking tools. However, hackers have resorted to unconventional and advanced hacking methods. Phishing attacks are one of these socially engineered attacks that can have a devastating effect on business prospects and customers’ lives.

Such attacks steal personal data such as names, banking information, passwords, and other login credentials. They occur when a user is duped into opening an email, IM, or text message containing a suspicious attachment.

Once such attachment or link is opened, the user may unknowingly install malware, launch DDoS attacks. The scam can also be part of an elaborate ransomware attack.

How Can I Identify a Phishing Scam?

It’s surprisingly easy for people to fall for such simple scams. The FBI reports that internet users lose up to $ 57 to phishing scams each year. There’s no sign of a decline in such a trend because hackers are always perfecting and updating their tactics.

However, I can look out for the following simple outliers to secure myself from phishing scams.

Spelling & Grammar Errors

Most fraudulent emails try to gain trust by disguising themselves as official communication from top tier brands such as Apple, Trader Joe’s, or any other trusted company. However, I could notice spelling mistakes, typos, and other errors that make the message incomprehensible.

This is a warning sign since there’s no way multi-billion enterprises can distribute incomprehensible communications to their trusting customers.

Sender Address

Hackers use fake email addresses to gain trust. The best way to tell if a sender’s address is fake is by taking a closer look at the URL. For instance, all official communications from Apple come from support.apple.com.

Therefore, I should be cautious of any email that comes from a URL such as support-apple.com.

Things That Sound Too Good to Be True

Like any other scams, phishing schemes promise benefits that may appear too good to be true. In most cases, they ask people to enter sensitive information such as credit card number and name and share the email or text message with social circles.

So, it’s wise to be cautious about engaging in such fake promotions. There’s never any prize to win, and the hackers will have all the laughs as they manipulate your stolen personal information.

Things I should never click on in unsolicited messages include

  1. Attachments
  2. Links
  3. Login Pages

What Are Scammers After?

These days, data is so relevant that it may as well be the new currency. In the wrong hands, personal information could open doors for criminals. Hackers can also use phishing attacks to launch ransomware attacks. Such attacks can freeze the company’s data networks until the hackers are paid a ransom.

Here are a few things hackers hope to gain from these scams:

  • Financial info could include bank account numbers, financial statements, credit reports, and other relevant details.
  • Passwords a phishing scam can manipulate someone into supplying a hacker with passwords and other relevant access credentials.
  • Identity includes official name and other user names one uses online.
  • Money; a scammer could dupe people into paying a certain sum to stand a chance to win something in a fake promotion or contest.

Why Do People Fall for Such Simple Scams?

Phishing scams are so effective because they take simple steps that manipulate both people’s fears and desires. Such need includes:

Urgency

Hackers know that the rapid pace of technology leaves very little time for internet users to second guess themselves or confirm their information’s authenticity.

Desire to Please

These scams often offer their victims something that would make them look good in front of their peers.

Greed

People look forward to having more in life. Phishing scams offer subtle propositions and shortcuts to getting more money and other things anyone may desire.

Curiosity

Most phishing scam victims will justify their adventure with statements such as “well, I didn’t think it would hurt to try.” Or “It seemed like a good idea at the time! And they weren’t asking for much.”

Complacency

Hackers know that most people don’t take the time to read service agreements or vet URLs and other web links for suspicious clauses and behavior.

FOMO

FOMO (fear of missing out) is the fear of regretting missing an opportunity or a social interaction. In this age of social media, it’s quite common and can lead to stress or chronic anxiety. Hackers are aware of such a phenomenon, and they engineer their phishing scams to evoke such feelings in their targeted victims.

See Something, Say Something

Reporting phishing scams is a wise step even if one has avoided getting lured and hooked in by the fake promises. This also helps the authorities’ efforts to crackdown on hackers, preventing them from duping more innocent internet users.

One can also reach out to Centerpoint if his or her Atlanta-based organization needs help with filtering emails for phishing scams.

Click here to get started, or call us at (404) 781-0200 to schedule a consultation.

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