What is phishing?
Phishing is a type of cyber attack that uses malicious email to trick the recipient into disclosing personal information or clicking on a link that leads to malware. The attacker pretends to be a trusted sender, such as a bank or other financial institution, in order to gain access to sensitive information like account numbers and passwords. Phishing can also be used to install malware on a victim’s computer.
How can you protect yourself from phishing attacks?
There are somel steps you can take to protect yourself from phishing attacks:
- Be suspicious of unsolicited emails, even if they appear to come from a trusted source. If you weren’t expecting an email from the sender, don’t open it.
- Don’t click on links in emails unless you’re sure they’re legitimate. Hover over the link to see where it will take you before you click on it.
- Don’t open attachments from unfamiliar senders. These attachments could contain malware that will infect your computer.
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date and run regular scans of your computer. This will help to detect and remove any malware that may have been installed through a phishing attack. If you need help with this, contact an information technology professional.
- Be cautious when providing personal information online. Only provide your information to websites that you trust and look for the https:// in the address bar, which indicates that the site is secure.
- Use strong passwords and don’t reuse passwords across multiple accounts. A strong password is one that is at least 8 characters long and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Enable two-factor authentication on your online accounts when available. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a code from your phone in addition to your password when logging in.
If you’re not sure whether an email is legitimate, you can always contact the company directly to verify its authenticity. Do not use the contact information provided in the email; instead, look up the company’s customer service number or website on your own.
What should you do if you think you’ve clicked on a phishing link?
If you think you may have clicked on a phishing link, there are a few steps you should take right away:
- Change your password: If you’ve clicked on a phishing link, your username and password may have been compromised. Change your password as soon as possible, and make sure to use a strong, unique password.
- Update your security software: Run a full scan of your computer with anti-virus and anti-malware software to check for any malicious software that may have been installed.
- Monitor your accounts: Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements for any unusual activity. If you see anything suspicious, report it to your bank or credit card company immediately.
Phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and how to protect yourself. By following the steps above, you can help to keep yourself safe from phishing scams.