How to Legally Protect & Secure Yourself from Phishing Attacks

How to Legally Protect & Secure Yourself from Phishing Attacks

February 25, 2021 Off By Glespynorson

With the increase in online services and technological advancements, users worldwide have become vulnerable to various cybercrimes. Hackers and cybercriminals use different techniques and tools to exploit a security loophole and steal valuable data (financial or otherwise). With a significant rise, phishing attacks have become a widespread problem posing a threat to individuals and organizations alike. Users must remain vigilant about such issues as phishing attacks are not easy to tackle. Fortunately for you, we have some tips and tricks to protect yourself from phishing attacks legally. However, before we go into the details, let us give you a brief overview of phishing attacks and the ways to identify them.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a popular method through which cybercriminals deliver malware to a system or steal user login information. These attacks happen by designing an attractive email with a malicious attachment or a link. Once opened, that link or attachment secretly installs malware in a system or starts stealing login information. The personal data that these hackers steal become the basis for further attacks and intrusions. Senders of phishing links often pose their emails as businesses or a known person to encourage someone to open the attachment. In general, phishing attacks pose the following security risks:

  • Many phishing emails lure a user into putting login information on a fake webpage, thereby stealing their login credentials. The criminals then use that information to enter a mailbox and try to identify a high-value target. They also try to login into a system to steal other valuable information or data.
  • Sometimes phishers use sniffing attacks to gain access to victims’ emails and build a profile of an organization. They find out about the status of all on-going projects, clients, operational messages, and financial information. Attackers can also use phishing attacks to encrypt the data and hold it for ransom.
  • Cybercriminals use mailbox information to send junk emails to all contacts and tarnish the reputation of an organization. It produces confusion and embarrassment for the company and causes the loss of clients. Such attacks reduce the confidence and trust of clients in a company that failed to protect their information.

Identification of Phishing Attacks

Professionals and studies of Masters in Cyber Security online emphasize users to remain vigilant against such attacks. Scammers update their tactics, but some common signs help you recognize a phishing attack.

  • An obvious sign of phishing is that an email will try to lure you into opening an attachment and clicking a link.
  • You might notice suspicious activity or unsuccessful login attempts.
  • Email content claims that there is a problem with your account or payment option.
  • Includes a fake invoice or tries to confirm any personal information.
  • Focus on clicking a link to move further.
  • Says you have a government refund ready to claim.
  • Might offer a free coupon.

All of these are obvious signs of anyone trying to lure you into a phishing attack. Be aware of such suspicious activities that happen to save yourself from trouble.

Tips to Protect Yourself

Be Wary of Shortened Links

Pay close attention to shortened links, especially on social media. Cybercriminals often use link shortening services like Bitly to trick you into thinking it is a legitimate link. You might think that the link you click is valid, which redirects you to a fake site. Attackers use these links to download and infected files or use counterfeit sites to steal your information. Place your mouse over the link and see if the link address is the same as that of the email.

Read a Suspicious Email

Suspicious emails are the most obvious sign of a phishing attack that you should consider reviewing. Often these emails have names of a legitimate business or someone you know. However, there will be typo errors, or the content of the email might not be correct. The email addresses might also look generally out of the picture. They also address you as Dear Customer or Sir/Madam instead of your name. Criminals often make these mistakes and sometimes intentionally bypass spam filters. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to re-read an email you find suspicious, and you will not fall for the scam.

Use Security Software

Always use responsive and legitimate security software such as Norton or AVG that automatically updates itself. Regular updates efficiently deal with security threats and scan every email for suspicious attachments/links. Purchasing licensed software gives you a significant advantage against these phishing attacks and keeps you updated about their activity.

Enable Content only from Trusted Sources

Enabling content from a trusted source allows you to avoid opening any suspicious email attachments. Phishers usually use malware to infect the system through attachments. Sometimes fraudsters trick you into opening a harmless word document, which is infected. If you have enabled content from trusted sources, it will immediately scan and prompt you about its status. If you know the source well, then you can open the file; otherwise, reject it. It is a better idea to contact the sender first if you feel something off in an email.

Contact the Sender

Contacting the sender is also another way to confirm the legitimacy of an email. If the sender is someone you know, then they will verify their status. Otherwise, if they deny it, then the email is from a cybercriminal. Contacting a sender is not only a way to avoid malicious content; it is also better against all types of phishing attacks.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication System

You can make your email system secured by using a multi-factor authentication system. Usually, the system asks for a code send through SMS if you log in from a new IP address. If you receive these passcodes for login without your consent, it is likely a sign that someone has phished you. The best type of multi-authentication login is the use of fingerprint scan or face recognition. Multi-authentication makes it difficult for phishers to gain access even if they have your ID and password.

Backup Data

Regular backing up your data gives you an advantage against any ransomware attack. Phishing attacks infect or encrypt your data, rendering it useless. If you have a secured backup of your data, you can immediately gain access without any loss.

Delete the Email

When everything else fails, the best way is to delete a suspicious email. If you cannot find the legitimacy of an email or the sender does not verify the status, then delete the email immediately. There is no suitable way to protect your computer’s privacy other than by removing a suspicious email.

Final Word

The information mentioned above will give you enough idea about the identification and protection against phishing attacks. The senders of these emails are not ethically sound, but you can use these ways to secure yourself legally. Beware and remain vigilant against these attacks and protect your privacy.