Phishing scams are one of the most successful ways to invade your computer, get your information, and steal your funds. Since Phishing attempts are done so creatively and with such attention to detail you might have a hard time identifying if your email from a phishing scammer or if your social network connections are from a real person or a phisher, I have some very easy tips to avoid being Phished after the definition.
As defined by Wikipedia:
In the field of computer security, phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Even when using server authentication, it may require tremendous skill to detect that the website is fake. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to fool users, and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies. Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures.
For more info you can go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing to read the entire Wiki entry, which is quite interesting.
To avoid being phished there are several key factors to look for. (For an extensive list go here, http://www.antiphishing.org/consumer_recs.html)
- For Emails: Is someone requesting personal info? Is it urgent? Is there a link in the email? If there is a link don't use it. Go directly to the website (google, facebook, bank...) and login there. If there is no message there for you repeating the same info, it's a phishing scam.
- Online: Avoid giving personal info unless it's through a secure connection. You can tell by the lock in the address bar when you go to the website, clicking on it, and having it display the security certification.
- Update your computer for security reasons. Yes, updates can be annoying, but a large percentage of updates are to fight the ever evolving scammer community, and to keep your data secure. These updates help automatically protect you from Phishers.
- Always report phishing emails. You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and they database them to help fight future scams.
I hope this helps you keep your information safe and secure. If you would like more help on how we can protect your entire workplace send us an email at ITsolutions@intertechpro.com and we'll analyze your organization's IT needs for no cost.