Did you know that over 90% of all cyberattacks start with phishing? This is because phishing attacks are very successful in tricking people into giving away their personal information, clicking on malicious links, or downloading malware.
What makes phishing attacks so successful?
Here’s a look at some of the most common reasons:
- Phishing emails are often very well-designed and can look almost identical to legitimate emails from companies or organizations that you trust. This makes it very easy to mistake a phishing email for a real one.
- Phishing emails often contain urgent or threatening language designed to make you act quickly without thinking. For example, an email may say that your account will be suspended unless you take action immediately.
- Phishers often include links in their emails that look like they go to a legitimate website, but actually take you to a fake website that is designed to steal your information.
- Many phishing emails now use “spoofing” techniques to make the email look like it comes from a trusted sender. For example, an email may appear to come from your bank, but the actual sender’s address is spoofed.
- Phishers often use social engineering techniques to exploit human weaknesses. For example, they may pretend to be someone you know or trust in order to get you to lower your guard and give them the information they want.
- Phishing attacks are often automated, which means that a large number of people can be targeted at once. This makes it more likely that someone will eventually fall for the attack.
- Phishers can use publicly available information about you to make their emails seem more believable. For example, they may include your name or address in the email to make it look like they know you.
- Many phishing emails now use sophisticated techniques to avoid detection by traditional security measures such as antivirus software. This makes it even harder to spot a phishing email and protect yourself from it.
So, how can you protect yourself from phishing attacks?
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from phishing attacks:
- Be very suspicious of any email that asks for personal information, even if it looks like it’s from a trusted sender. If you’re not sure, don’t click on any links and don’t reply to the email.
- Don’t click on any links in an email unless you’re sure they’re legitimate. You can hover over the link to see where it will actually take you before you click on it.
- Keep your antivirus software up to date and run regular scans on your computer. This will help to detect and remove any malware that may have been installed through a phishing attack. If you’re not sure which antivirus software to use, you can ask your information technology department or look for reviews online.
- Be careful of what you download. Only download files from trusted sources.
- Keep your operating system and all your software up to date. Install security updates as soon as they’re available.
- Use a strong password and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. A good password should be at least 8 characters long and include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Be cautious of any email that contains attachments, even if it’s from a trusted sender. These attachments may contain malware that can infect your computer.
- Set up two-factor authentication for your important accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a code from your phone in addition to your password when logging in.
By following these simple tips, you can make it much harder for attackers to succeed with their phishing attempts. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt about an email, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and delete it.