What is "Phishing" and how do you stay safe?
Phishing isn't one of these new words the "kids" are changing like changing "Fat" into "Phat" for a whole new meaning! Instead, it is referencing a type of cybercrime. Most all of us have received a "phishing" attempt but you may have not even known what it was! Knowledge is the biggest defense when it comes to phishing. If you know what to watch out for, you'll know what not to click on or respond to and hopefully, you can avoid the misfortune of falling victim to these criminals.
"Phishing is, a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details and passwords." These cybercrimes can result in financial and identity theft. In addition to the above-stated routes to contact prospective victims, these criminals which are sometimes referred to as "phishers," have now begun hacking extremely popular apps and websites to gain the trust of the average unsuspected victim. This year alone, phishers have used Facebook, Whatsapp, GooglePlay and even the Olympic Games to get the information, passwords and phone access from unsuspecting citizens.
How do you stay safe from falling victim to these sneaky cybercriminals? One of the best pieces of advice to keep in mind is:
"If it sounds too good to be to be true, it probably is!" If someone is urgently offering you very enticing gifts or rewards and you must "redeem it now" then it is probably a phishing scam! These tactics are to get you not to think about the possible outcome and only about the lavish prize you really want to win!
Don't click on anything you aren't positive you know what it is. Even if it says it is a link you know, hover over the link and make sure the link is accurate. Often, phishers will change a letter or two to make the link appear to be correct. Just look closely!! Additionally, don't open any attachments that you aren't positive about. Phishers are great at packing ransomware and viruses in attachments and once opened, these items will be placed on your computer!
Finally, if it seems odd or suspicious or you just have one of those gut feelings, don't click on it! Even if it looks like it is coming from someone you trust!
Phishing scams can target anyone! In the past, the individual was much more at risk but now businesses of all sizes and their employees have been targeted and the risk is definitely increasing! If there is ever a concern about the security or safety of your business environment and how at risk you might be, contact the experts at Pendello Solutions. Security is the threat and they are the real ghostbusters of the 21st century!