Over the past decades, the Internet has become an integral part of our everyday life. We use electronic payment services, pay utility bills using Internet banking, conduct business, and friendly correspondence. If we do not follow basic security rules, our confidential information can be stolen by fraudsters. Phishing is one of the types of Internet fraud aimed at obtaining illegal access to personal user data.
However, using security software that blocks access to fake websites and browsers with phishing filters may help you to avoid becoming a victim of scammers. Such comparisons as Avast vs Norton 360 or Kaspersky vs McAfee might be helpful to protect yourself. Despite their effectiveness, one should know the basic moves against phishing.
How Phishing Works
Cybercriminals use various tricks to get users to reveal their data, such as phone numbers, numbers, secret codes of bank cards, logins, and passwords of email and social media accounts. Often, users apply a specific service or opportunity that pull them into such actions. For example, customers of online stores are offered a fantastic deal with a considerable discount.
Any other confidential information can be of interest to attackers. Fraudsters fish out user data for different reasons. It can be checking authorization on the site, the need to unsubscribe from an email newsletter, paying for a purchase at a bargain price, or with a good discount, the need to install a new application, etc. The specific feature of phishing is that the fraud victim provides their sensitive data willingly. To achieve this, cybercriminals operate with tools such as phishing sites, email newsletters, phishing landing pages, pop-ups, and targeted advertising.
The user receives an offer to register for any benefit or confirm his personal data, allegedly for banking or commercial institutions. Typically, scammers disguise themselves as well-known companies, social media applications, email services. The sender’s email address really looks like a familiar company. Attackers take advantage of a low level of user awareness, in particular, ignorance of basic network security rules.
First of all, the organizers of phishing attacks are interested in personal data that give access to money. Thus, not only individuals, but also companies, electronic payment systems, online stores, banks, and auctions can become phishing victims.
How to Avoid Phishing
There are several simple ways to keep yourself safe from phishing that uses the cloning of websites.
Email is most often used to promote links to fake sites. Do not trust email messages that suggest you follow a link to make any necessary changes to your account, even if the message was sent supposedly from your bank or other trustworthy institution.
Large and respected companies who take pride in their work, especially those dealing with finances, rarely send such messages. If you have the slightest doubt about the message’s authenticity, contact the bank or the sending institution by phone without opening the message.
Don’t click suspicious links
You should not be fooled by the fact that the HTML link contained in the email message looks precisely like the address of, say, your financial institution. Many technologies allow hiding the address of a completely different web page inside an HTML link.
To avoid getting there, don’t click on the link, copy and paste it into your browser’s address bar instead. This way, you could see the real address where you go if you click this link.
Make sure you are protected
If you need to enter your password or any personal information, and are suspicious of the page’s authenticity, take steps to ensure that you are on a secure web site. The address of the secure site in the browser address bar must start with https://.
Also, look in your browser window for the icon that represents a closed padlock. Depending on your computer’s model and the browser used, it can be located in different places. But most often either in the lower right corner of the window or directly in the address bar. Double-clicking on this icon will display the site’s security certificate.
Ensure that the address shown in the certificate matches the address displayed in the address bar of your browser. Never enter your passwords and personal information on unsecured sites.