Top 7 Ways to protect yourself from Phishing
According to Wiktionary, Phishing is an “act of sending email that falsely claims to be from a legitimate organization. This is usually combined with a threat or request for information: for example, that an account will close, a balance is due, or information is missing from an account. The email will ask the recipient to supply confidential information, such as bank account details, PINs or passwords; these details are then used by the owners of the website to conduct fraud.”
So, if you have received e-mails with the similar messages as the ones below then consider those e-mails as phishing attacks:
“We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”
“During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
Some of the startling facts published in the Phishing Activity Trends Report for the second half of 2011 by the Anti-Phishing Working Group are as follows:
- Trojan malware has continued to proliferate, becoming the dominant technology of choice for e-criminals.
- During the second half of 2011, phishing attacks increased as the holiday season approached. There were 23 percent more phishing attacks than in the first half of 2011.
- Financial Services continued to be the most targeted industry sector in the second half of 2011.
- During the six month period, most phishing-based Trojans were hosted in the USA.
- Some 39 percent of the world’s PCs are infected with malware of some type. Chinese PCs are infected more frequently than anywhere in the world, while Europe has the lowest infection rate.
The ground reality is that we cannot completely escape from these phishing attacks but we can take the following logical steps to reduce its potential of harming us:
Do not click on links within e-mails
Never open or click any link within an e-mail if you are not sure of its source or sender. It is possible that the text we see as a hyperlink may not be the same as the one which we get on clicking that link.
Advisable: Directly type the URL of that link in the Address Bar or call the company to confirm their e-mail.
Look for ‘https’ on the site that asks your personal information
‘https’ represents security. So, before you enter your personal or financial information on a site, check for ‘https’ in the beginning of the URL or the locked padlock on the Internet browser's status bar. Absence of ‘https’ is a definite hint that the website is not secure.
Do not work on the Internet without antivirus software
Antivirus software protects your computer against various threats like Trojans and worm attacks.
Advisable: Always update the antivirus definitions of your security software.
Enhance security with an anti-spyware software and personal firewall
Spam filters or software reduces the number of unwanted e-mails in your mailbox while a firewall makes your PC invisible on the Internet. An effective anti-spyware prevents annoying pop-up ads that come when you download some music, files or documents.
Advisable: If you have a broadband connection, you must use a firewall as it blocks communication from all unknown sources.
Always keep your Operating System and Browser updated
Computer hackers are always on the lookout to exploit vulnerabilities in the operating system or a browser.
Advisable: Use patches as and when they are released by software vendors to close the loose holes in the system that hackers can exploit. You can also subscribe to their automatic updating feature.
Give a quick review to your credit card and bank statements
Reviewing your financial statements will help you to figure out any unauthorized financial charges. You can then timely follow-up with the relevant company. A delay in the receipt of these statements by a couple of days at your mailing address also calls for your attention.
Knowledge is Power
Keep yourself updated with the latest happenings in the field of computer security. According to FraudWatch International, “Internet Fraud methods are evolving at a rapid rate. Consumers need to be aware they are vulnerable as fraudsters are persuasive and convincing; many victims thought they were too smart to be scammed. Consumers should educate themselves on Internet Fraud, the trends and continual changes in fraudulent methods used.”
Advisable: You can bookmark our website for the latest updates in the field of Internet security or can speak to iYogi Certified Technicians for an expert advice.