Posts Tagged ‘cybercriminal’
During a spear-phishing attack, the perpetrator attempts to acquire personal details on the victim’s friends, hometown, employer, hang-outs, and their recent online purchases. This is typically done by disguising themselves as a trustworthy friend or entity through email, social media, phone calls, or text messages.
Because spear-phishing is the most successful form of acquiring confidential information online, it is important to practice how to avoid an attack.
1. Beware what you post: Review your online profiles. How much personal information is available for potential attackers to view? If there is something you do not want the public to see, delete it, or ensure your privacy settings are properly configured.
2. Use smart passwords: It is not wise to use the password for every account you own. In this case, if an attacker has access to one account, they effectively have access to all of your accounts. Passwords with random phrases, letters, and numbers are secure.
3. Use logic with emails: If an organization sends you a link in an email requesting a specific action or sort of personal information, go directly to the organization’s site rather than clicking on the link. Calling the organization can also help clarify the issue. Real businesses will not email you asking for your username and password.
4. Update your software: Software systems include security updates that should help protect you from spear-phishing attacks, as well as others. If you receive notice of a new update, be sure to take advantage, or enable automatic updates.
To learn more about how you can protect your data or sensitive information, contact the experts at WesTec.
What is Phishing?Here’s an analogy to better understand: Imagine a fisherman baiting a hook and tossing it into a lake in hopes of getting a bite. If a fish bites, the fisherman reels it in. But, if it doesn’t, the fisherman fails and the fish keeps swimming. Phishing is the same way. A cybercriminal can only gain access to your accounts or information if you fall for the bait. For example, a hacker might design an email disguised as your bank telling you your account has been compromised. They ask you to click on a link to verify your identity. If you click on the link and fill out the information, you have now provided them with the information to access your finances.
Types of PhishingHackers attempt to get victims to do one of two things to get what they want. Some cybercriminals try to trick you into giving up your information. This is similar to the bank example above. Other hackers prefer to have you download malware. Often, these types of emails will include a download attachment, often a .zip file or Microsoft document, embedded with malicious code.
How to Prevent Phishing AttacksIf you know how to spot a phishing attempt, you can avoid compromising your data and report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Here are the steps you can follow to confirm the identity of an email sender:
- Always check the spelling of URLs in email links before you click
- Watch out for URL redirects, where hackers sent you to a different website with identical design
- If you receive a suspicious email from a source you know, contact them with a new email, rather than replying