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NairaMan Forum / Phones / How To Prevent Phishing And Protect Yourself Against Phishing Hack (1 Post | 587 Views)
How To Prevent Phishing And Protect Yourself Against Phishing Hack by Tunisblizz(: 9:25 pm On Dec 19, 2017
Even though a phishing attack is more damaging than a virus attack, it is the virus attack that always steals the headline. In a virus attack, victims’ files get corrupted, deleted or locked – but with a strong, up-to-date antivirus, the files could be recovered. In the case of a phishing attack, it is a case of stolen identity.
The hacker steals victims’ confidential information, which could include bank account details (which he can use to cart away victims’ life savings). Therefore, it is paramount you know how to prevent phishing and protect yourself against phishing threats.
The aim of this post is to put you through the phishing preventive and protection measures. But before that let me briefly explain what phishing is, and the forms in which it usually comes.
What Is a Phishing Attack?
A phishing attack is a h*ck in which its sole aim is stealing victims’ data and confidential information such as passwords, PINs, Social Security Number (in the US), credit/debit card number, and other highly guarded personal information. Most of the time, the phishing hacker sends phishing email, Instant Message (on social media), or SMS to the unsuspecting victims.
In Nigeria, for example, we could say those folks sending SMS claiming people’s BVN has been blocked and asking them to contact them are into phishing. The aim of sending such SMS is to trick people into giving their bank and ATM debit card details so that the folks can access the victims’ funds and transfer to theirs – or to secret bank accounts they have access to.
As for email and Instant Message, victims are usually asked to click on links which take the victims to a fake website seeming to be real. The website would then ask the victims to update their personal information and from there the hacker steals the information.
Now that you have the idea of what phishing attack is about, let’s go to how to prevent phishing and protect yourself against phishing threat.
How to Prevent Phishing and Protect Yourself against Phishing Threats
* Don’t give your personal information to unsecured websites (websites without HTTPS): Blogs, regular websites, and e-commerce websites are in constant demand for users’ personal information, especially email — it isn’t a bad thing to give it to them. However, before you do, make sure the website is secured.
You will know that a website is secured through HTTPS in front of its URL – that is, there will be an S, after the HTTP. The S after HTTP shows that data transfer from your computer or phone to the server of the website is protected and encrypted. On e-commerce websites, site seals like Comodo Site Seal and Truste Site Seal, in the footer, also show that such websites are secured.
The main point here is, if you want to protect yourself against phishing threats, you should never give your personal information to a website that carries HTTP. Even Google isn’t happy with HTTP websites because they aren’t safe, and it has started penalizing them in its search engine results and flagging them as unsecured on its Chrome browser.
Also, when shopping on an e-commerce website, go for pay-on-delivery, if the option is available; doing that would prevent you from supplying your card details, which could be hijacked during payment processing online.
* Be wary of links in email and on social media, including WhatsApp: The most frequently used method in phishing attacks is to send a link to victims; the hacker would send a phishing link into the victims’ email, social media inbox, or broadcast the link through WhatsApp.
To prevent phishing and protect yourself against phishing threats from links, don’t click anyhow links in your email or on social media, especially from unknown persons. As for WhatsApp, when someone sends you a chat asking you to click a link so that you can win money or a prize, ignore the chat.
Such links are either a phishing trap or a scam or a fruitless referral program.
* Be wary of shortened links: This way of preventing phishing and protecting yourself against phishing threats is related to being wary of links in an email message, social media and Whatsapp. People usually use bit.ly, goo.gl and other URL shorteners to shorten long links; however, a hacker could also use the URL shorteners to conceal links to phishing websites.
So to protect yourself against phishing threat from a shortened link in email and others, copy any suspected shortened link, go to http://www.checkshorturl.com, and paste the shortened link into the box provided on the page. Then click on Expand, and the shortened link would be expanded to its original full link.
If the original full URL doesn’t speak to the content in the body of the email or social media post, it is likely to be a phishing link. Run for your life!
* Don’t reply email and SMS asking you for your personal information: Some hackers would pose as a real company and email, call, or SMS you that your account with them is having an issue and that you should send your username (or email) and password so that they can fix it. Don’t fall for this!
Real companies can access the username, password, and biodata of their customers from their backend and wouldn’t email or SMS customers to supply them.
To not fall for this phishing, always check the email address or phone number of the person contacting you. Most of these hackers use email like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org e.g. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The real company would have its domain name as its email so that its email can be something like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for SMS, most companies use a personalized name for SMS; so if you receive an SMS from a regular phone number and the content of the SMS claims the SMS is from a company, ignore the SMS.
If you are worried that the claim that your account is having issues might be true, Google the company’s website, go to the “contact us” page on the company’s website and contact the company about the claim.
* Be wary of popups: popups are normally used for collecting subscribers’ emails and names. But when a popup is asking more than name and email, ignore it. And to really prevent phishing and protect yourself against phishing threats from popups, don’t click on links on popup screens.
* Install and regularly update your security software: antivirus and antimalware not only protect against viruses and malware, they can also prevent phishing and protect against phishing threats. So you should have a good antivirus installed on your device and complement it with a good antimalware – and always update them.
Just as virus attacks wouldn’t stop, the phishing attacks wouldn’t stop, too. But by following the above tips on how to prevent phishing and protect yourself against phishing threats, you have a high chance of not being among the victims, when next phishing hackers strike.
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