What Are Phishing Attacks and How Does Phishing Happen?

Phishing is the act of sending fraudulent messages that appear to have a reputable origin; in this case, the goal is to steal sensitive data from unsuspecting users. It is usually conducted through email. Once a victim clicks on a link within an email, they unknowingly download malicious software onto their computer. This malware can steal data or give an attacker access to the victim’s account. Phishing attacks are among the most common challenges in security faced by both companies and individuals in the pursuit of keeping information secure.

Naturally, businesses are a prime target for hackers with malicious intent.

How to Spot Phishing Attacks

Phishing is among the most common types of cyber attacks. However, it doesn’t matter what we think about scam emails, businesses and individuals frequently fall victim to them.

  • Emails with Poor Spelling and Grammar Mistakes.
  • Emails with an Unfamiliar Greeting or Salutation.
  • Inconsistent Email Addresses, Links & Domain Names.
  • Suspicious Attachments.
  • Emails Requesting Sensitive Information 
  • Emails That Are Too Good To Be True

Phishing text messages and emails often tell stories that may trick you into trusting the company and clicking on links to open an attachment. Some of the telltale signs of phishing attacks include:

  • They claim that there is a problem with your payment information or account credentials
  • They require your personal information (PII)
  • They will send fake invoices
  • They will want you to click on suspicious links to make a payment
  • They will claim that you are eligible to sign-up for government refunds
  • They offer coupons for some free gifts or offers

Use the following tips to prevent phishing attacks

Do not click on the link

As a general rule, if the link does not originate from a trustworthy location, then you should not click the link or download the attachment.

Learn what a phishing email looks like

Although new strategies are being developed all the time, a trained eye can detect fraudulent emails. Try to learn all the signs commonly associated with phishing emails.

Switch Up Your Passwords

It is common for users to keep using the same password from different forums. This makes it easy for attackers to gain access to all your accounts if they compromise one of them.

Install Anti-Phishing Add-Ons

It is recommended to download and install add-ons from trustworthy organizations to alert you of malicious websites. Most of these add-ons are free to use.

Don’t Enter Your Information in an Unsecured Website

Make sure that the website address starts with “HTTPS” before you enter your information. If you don’t see a padlock icon next to the URL, do not enter any sensitive information.

Update Your Computer

While it may be inconvenient to update your computer and software, it is not recommended to put them off for too long. Security patches are released to thwart the latest cyber-attacks and prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited.

Install Firewalls and Antivirus

Firewalls are very effective at preventing an external attacker.  They do not allow any unauthorized connections to break into your network. Also, make sure to install antivirus software to detect malware and adware in real-time.

Don’t Click on Pop-Ups

Pop-ups are mostly associated with malware and phishing attacks. You can prevent them with ad-block plugins. Even if some of them manage to evade the plugin, don’t click on them. This also applies to the ‘close’ sign – it could be an attempt to get you to redirect you to a malicious address.

Why Attacks are so effective?

People are not very good at detecting phishing emails and even though the sender maybe someone we know, or if they have signed up for a certain service we know to be safe, we trust that they are legitimate. They may be sent via a verified email address and maybe from a high-profile company or organization. We may click on a link in the email that takes us to a legitimate website.

Also, they are well-targeted, using certain language and then stealing information similar to a service with which the victim already has an account. They take steal information, such as login credentials, and then they duplicate it into a different website that looks more trustworthy.

Final Words

If you need assistance with any or all of these cybersecurity or any other IT security measures, Microsys is there to help. With us, you don’t have to worry about your budget constraints for cybersecurity and data protection. We offer solutions that don’t break the bank of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Get in touch with us today!

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