Have you ever been the victim of a phishing attack?
Do you know what a phishing attack looks like?
This is a guide for organisations who want to pre-empt unwanted cyber threats with safe online practices using solid defence mechanisms. It’s time to fight back!
“Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” Wikipedia, December 2015
Dangerous times. Offline and online. And with cyber warfare/terrorism regarded by many experts as one of the most serious international threats little wonder the Government is throwing resources at GCHQ. Rumours that the Russian security service has the ability to shut down every TV station in the west anyone? Now while a little less Fox in our lives might not seem like such a bad thing business too needs to be aware of the threat of all this cyber skulduggery.
Phishing attacks for example – that cost businesses billions of pounds. But how can you spot a phishing attack? What can you do to protect yourself from them? Are your users aware of the threat even, and safe practices?
Recognise and act
Have you ever been contacted by a kindly Nigerian banker or businessman? Did they ask you to provide digital marketing services in Lagos. Or to help release funds in exchange for a handsome commission? How flattering. How generous. $10,000 per month over two years? A $100,000 lump sum? And all you needed to do was to sign the contract and send him personal bank account details to transfer the money. What a deal! Such little effort for such great reward.
Nah. You get the gist of it. A typical phishing attack. Real life scenarios – the promise of fabulous rewards. Direct and personal. You’d be amazed how many people fall for it.
But there are tell-tale signs to look out for.
Spelling and bad grammar are common in fishing attacks. Think about it. A cybercriminal sending dodgy emails to random individuals across the globe has not studied linguistics under Noam Chomsky. English will most likely be a second language.
Dodgy links in emails is another one. Do not click on such links. Ever. A simple trick is to hover over the address, wait for the yellow box to appear and match the two. If they don’t match, it’s a no go.
It’s important to note too that some links may include .exe files or spyware software that may infiltrate your system like a parasite. Avoid like the plague.
And look out too for requests, even from bosses and colleagues that seem a little odd. Rushed late night emails requesting the transfer of large amounts of cash. Or transfer recipients that might seem unfamiliar. It’s not uncommon these days for crooks to hijack and email address and pretend to be a senior manager with the authority to make such requests. Check with the individual if you have any doubts.
And if you spot a phishing email DELETE immediately. Chuck it back in the water.
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