Sunday, September 18, 2016

Five Tips To Avoid Falling For A Phishing Trick

Please read the whole article below.

Alice LaPlante, CenturyLink
July 8, 2016

You’re at your desk, working hard, when an email pops up. The subject line says “Urgent!” and it seems to be from your finance manager. The body of the email is short and to the point: your business has a big problem with payroll. The note addresses you by name and instructs you to download the attached spreadsheet to see for yourself how dire the situation is.

Naturally, you click.

Congratulations…you’ve just been successfully phished.

Instead of downloading a spreadsheet, you’ve just allowed malware to sneak onto your system. You’re infected. You probably don’t realize anything is wrong – cybercriminals like to fly under the radar and remain undetected for as long as possible. And depending on what the attacker has planned, any number of things could happen now. Your keystrokes could be captured – including usernames and passwords for important systems. Your company data could be stolen – customer data, employee data, financial data, you name it. Your network and data could be locked up until you pay a hefty ransom fee.


Phishing at its most basic level is an email that attempts to trick you into downloading malware or giving out personal information like your Social Security number, bank account information, username or password. Phishing has been around since the dawn of the computer age, and is astonishingly successful. Google estimates that 45% of phishing campaigns succeed.


Here are five general rules to help you avoid phishing scams.

Be cautious when opening emails that manipulate you emotionally. ...

Never respond to emails that request personal or financial information. ...

Never go to your bank’s or a vendor’s website by clicking on a link included in an email. ...

Check that the websites you visit are secure. If the websites you visit are on secure servers, they should start with https:// (the “s” stands for “security”) rather than the usual http://. Never enter personal or financial information except into an https web page.

Keep your computer secure. Phishing emails often contain spyware and keyloggers (programs that can record your keystrokes and what you do online) or create a back door to allow attackers into your computer. Make sure you have antivirus software and that it’s up to date to catch these malicious programs before they can do harm.


If you receive a suspicious email, forward it to the organization that was used to attempt to phish you – your bank or e-commerce site, for example. Also, tell everyone within your company to watch out for similar emails; a typical ploy is to send the same email to many employees of a specific company, hoping one of the workers will fall for the scam.

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