With the most recent figures painting a grim phishing landscape for both individuals and organizations, nobody wants to fall prey to such an attack. Phishing is lucrative and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, but you’re in good hands.
We’ve compiled a list of the ten best anti-phishing practices you need in both your day-to-day life and your company.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is a cyberattack in which cybercriminals pretend to be a reputable entity or person, engaging various ways of online communication to distribute malicious links or attachments that can perform a variety of functions, but to one single end: stealing the victim’s data for financial gain.
This type of online fraud uses subtle and cunning social engineering strategies that allow cybercriminals who leverage human trust to steal the victim’s sensitive data, which is a lot easier than breaching a computer’s or a network’s defenses.
10 Fundamental And Best Anti-Phishing Practices
Phishing scams have been around since the beginning of the Internet and have only become more sophisticated and damaging over time. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid becoming a victim yourself or your employees. Here are ten basic guidelines to help you combat phishing:
1. Keep Informed About Phishing Techniques
Phishers develop new scams all the time. So keep your eyes peeled for news and articles on the latest phishing techniques to avoid falling victim to one. In addition, you should make sure you educate your employees to do the same, to aim for a more security-driven company culture.
You will position yourself and your company at a much lower risk of a successful phishing attack by doing some research. In addition, security awareness training and phishing simulations for all users are highly recommended.
2. Think Twice Before You Click
You’re in the clear if you click on links when you’re on legitimate, trustworthy sites. But clicking on links in random emails and instant messages is definitely a no-no! It would be best if you hovered over URLs before clicking on them. You may discover that they don’t lead where they’re supposed to.
A phishing email will usually claim to be from a genuine company, and it may ask you to fill in some sensitive data. Most phishing emails start off with a generic “Dear Customer,” so watch out for those. If you have the slightest doubt about an email, you should go directly to the source and check with the company impersonated rather than clicking a potentially poisoned link.
3. Install An Anti-Phishing Toolbar
You can customize your web browser with an anti-phishing toolbar, which runs quick tests on the sites that you access and check them against lists of known phishing sites. If you land on a malicious website, the anti-phishing toolbar will warn you about it. And the best news is that you can find such software for free.
4. Verify A Website’s Security
Before submitting any sensitive information to a website, ensure that its URL begins with “https” and you should see a closed lock icon near the address bar. In addition, verify the site’s security certificate. If you get a notice that it may contain malicious files, do not open the website. However tempting, never download files from suspicious emails or websites.
Even search engines might show certain links, which lead to phishing web pages with low-cost products or services for sale. If you make a purchase at such websites, your credit card details will be stolen by cybercriminals.
5. Check Your Accounts Regularly
If you don’t log in to an online account for some time, someone could exploit it without your knowledge. Even if you don’t need to, make a habit of checking in with each of your online accounts regularly. Also, change your passwords on a regular basis. Finally, check your statements frequently to prevent bank phishing and credit card phishing scams.
6. Keep Your Browser Updated
Updates for popular browsers feature security patches. They are released to resolve security loopholes that scammers discover and exploit. So never ignore messages about updating your browsers. When an update is available, download and install it.
7. Enable Firewalls
High-quality firewalls will shield you from ill-intended intruders. You should consider using two different types: a desktop firewall and a network firewall. When combined, they drastically reduce the risk of hackers infiltrating your computer or network.
8. Be Cautious Of Pop-Ups
Pop-ups usually masquerade as legitimate components of a reputable site. They’re definitely annoying, but they can be downright dangerous. Phishers may use them to steal your data. Many popular browsers allow you to block ads. If one still slips through the cracks, don’t think of clicking the “cancel” button, for it can actually lead you to a malicious website. Instead, you should click the small “x” in the upper corner of the intrusive window.
9. Do Not Give Away Personal Information
As a thumb rule, please do not share personal, financial, or company-related information over the Internet unless you know for sure it’s with the proper person/organization.
When in doubt, access the main website of the company in question, get their telephone number, and give them a call. Most phishing emails will direct you to pages where you’re required to fill in your financial or personal information. It would be best if you never made confidential entries through the URLs provided in emails. Never send an email with sensitive data to anyone. Make it a habit to check the address of the website. A secure website always starts with “https.”
10. Use Antivirus Software
Efficient antivirus software will protect you against the dangers that abound on the Internet. From increasingly complex viruses, digging their way patiently through your files, to network attacks, the antivirus software you use must provide appropriate solutions for any of these issues.
However, whether you choose a complex antivirus or a basic one, you should never rely solely on it. Cybersecurity awareness is a crucial factor in protecting your data and devices. It would be best if you learned to spot potential phishing attacks, software that looks suspicious and can be malicious, and other threats. As they say, prevention is better than cure.
ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training program will help you enrich your employees’ cybersecurity knowledge with up-to-date security best practices to keep your company safe from scammers and avoid potentially irreparable damage.