Phishing is a type of online identity theft that uses email and fraudulent websites to steal your company or personal data, such as credit card numbers, passwords, and account information. Phishing scams are one of the most common types of cyber attacks you’re likely to encounter as a business owner or employee.
Thousands fall victim to phishing scams every year; however, there are ways to avoid becoming a victim yourself. If you know how to correctly identify phishing scams, you can effectively protect your company’s assets. Here are some helpful tips to avoid email phishing traps in the future.
1. Be Aware
New phishing scams are created all the time, but they share commonalities that you can identify earlier if you know what to look out for. Keep a lookout for news regarding the latest attack methods and share this information with your users – people who work with you or for you. For IT administrators, ongoing security awareness training is necessary to ensure the highest level of security throughout your entire organization.
2. Don’t Respond
By responding to spammers, scammers, and cyber criminals alike, you let attackers know that your email address is live and active. Active email addresses are more valuable for criminals to target or sell to other cyber criminals. The background “headers” in your emails also contain information about your geo-location, which is extremely dangerous and can lead to serious cyber threats. By not responding to the email, you can prevent a phishing scam from happening.
3. Don’t Click Links
It’s okay to click on links when you’re on a trusted website. However, it’s generally not advisable to click on a link in a random email or instant message, even if you know the sender. At the bare minimum, you should hover over the link to see where it’s taking you. Does it lead to the right place? Some phishing attacks are fairly sophisticated and may claim to be from a legitimate company, but do not let them fool you. When you click a link in these emails, it could be delivering a virus to your operating system or business applications.
4. Don’t Take Action
You should never, under any circumstances, share your personal or financial information over the internet, including bank account and credit card information or your social security number. First, check the address an email says it came from, especially if the name is of a colleague, executive, or someone else you know. Many phishing emails will ask you to send money, but check how the email is written and ask yourself: Would the CEO of my company send me this? When in doubt, go to the source, get their number, and give them a call.
5. Keep Your Systems Patched
Security patches and updates are released regularly to help you defend against phishers and other hackers. Patches and updates are released in response to security loopholes that phishers inevitably discover and exploit. You or your company should not ignore these updates when they pop up on your computer or other company devices. If you do not update your browser, you could be at risk for a cyber attack through known vulnerabilities, which you could easily avoid.
Stay Protected Against Phishing Scams with Mindcore
Mindcore provides businesses of all sizes with comprehensive cyber security solutions to prevent phishing and other types of cyber attacks. Our team will work closely with you to identify any gaps in your current infrastructure and provide expert recommendations that are manageable and effective. If you have any questions about our cyber security services or you’d like to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.