What is Phishing Attack & How to Avoid These Scams

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No matter how smart you are, you may still become a victim of phishing attack. From individuals to big organization, phishing and malware attacks spare none. Over the years the number of such attacks has increased considerably and in fact, hackers are finding new ways of targeting naïve users every other day. Now the question arises, how do I protect my valuable information and account from such malicious attacks? Well, to protect yourself and your business from phishing attempts, first you need to understand what exactly it means and how it works.
What is a Phishing Attack?

Phishing attacks are one of the most common cyber scam where cyber criminals target sensitive information online by pretending to be a trustworthy website. Phishing affects personal email accounts like Gmail and Yahoo accounts, as well as business accounts. One of the most common types of phishing scam is deceptive phishing where the hacker pretends to be a legitimate company in order to steal people’s personal information or login credentials. The email will look legitimate so that the user will click on an apparently safe URL but in reality that will direct the user to a fake website.

For example, you may receive a PayPal email regarding some discrepancy with your account. The email will provide you a link which actually leads to a fake PayPal login page that collects a user’s login credentials and delivers them to the attackers. To identify such fake, malicious emails, it’s necessary to pay attention to the URLs to find errors and grammar or spelling mistakes. The scammer creates a replica of a secure website that looks genuine to most people. However, there are also many other methods used by cyber criminals to gain sensitive information of the users.
How to Avoid Phishing Attacks?

If cyber criminals are smart, you need to act smarter. There are some effective ways to identify phishing attacks and prevent hackers from stealing your credentials. Read further to know some useful tips to save your sensitive data.

  1. The first and easiest thing to do is to check the spelling and grammar of the email. If you notice mistakes, for example, “life insurence”, instead of “life insurance,” it’s a sign that an email isn’t legitimate.
  2. To spot a phishing email, you can simply hover the mouse over the link provided in the email (without clicking it). If the email is a spam, the hyperlinked URL will be different from the one shown. You will see a legitimate name but when you take your mouse over it, the actual URL will pop-up which will be different.
  3. You may receive an email saying that your bank account is closed or your account needs verification. Such emails ask users to take immediate action by either submitting their details or clicking on a link. However, it’s a trick used by fraudsters. So, make sure you never click any suspicious link or download any attachment from unauthentic sender. A very common phishing scam claims that the recipient has won a lottery or some other prize.

4.   Make sure you install commercial anti-virus and anti-spam software and update it frequently. In addition to this, you need to have secure internet connectivity with a strong firewall to avoid scams and data loss scenarios

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