What You Need to Know to Avoid Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a remarkably dangerous tactic used by hackers to take advantage of those who might not be quite as in-the-know about security practices. Phishing attacks can be carried out against both businesses and individuals alike, and due to the many different forms these attacks can take—including email, text message, and even fraudulent websites—they can be quite problematic.
Let’s go over how you can train your team to avoid phishing attacks and how to appropriately respond to them when they are inevitably encountered.
Be Wary of Unsolicited and Suspicious Emails
Have you ever received an unsolicited email asking you to perform specific tasks, like filling out a form or downloading an attachment? Oftentimes hackers will use these methods to get the user to download a file or perform an action under the guise of someone else. If you think anything sounds suspicious within the email, then there probably is something suspicious with the email. Look for typos, misspelled words, poor grammar, and otherwise dead giveaways that the sender is not legitimate, especially in the professional environment.
Don’t Click on Links—Especially When the Sender is Unknown
The old phishing link is one of the oldest tricks in the book. The attacker might include the link to something supposedly innocent or important in the body of an email or a text message, only to hide something far more sinister on the other side. You should be cautious of any suspicious links you receive in an email or text message, as it is very easy to hide malware, phishing forms, or other types of attacks within a malicious link.
Also, be very careful of the links and the characters they use in general. It’s easy to substitute the character in a link with one that might look in place, but is really not, like a zero instead of an O or something similar.
Verify the Sender for Yourself When Possible
The types of phishing attacks you might receive will come from routes where it will be difficult to verify the identity of the person on the other side of the line. This is intentional; hackers don’t want you to be able to thwart their efforts easily. Whenever possible, you should try to get in touch with the sender through alternative means, like walking to their office or contacting them on the phone or social media. This can help you determine if the user is really who they say they are.
The best way to protect your business from phishing attacks is to implement a comprehensive network security plan, including spam blocking and content filtering, as well as training your team on the best practices for how to detect and avoid attacks. To get started with either of these, contact Directive at 607.433.2200.