- Abdul Mujeeb
- September 25, 2018
6 Ways to Prevent Phishing Scams in 2019
Phishing scams have been quite a successful method for cybercriminals to earn millions of dollar in the recent years. That's a reason enough to predict that such scams will continue in the future. In fact, there can be a modern growth in how attackers victimize businesses and agencies as they take a more technologically-equipped approach.
A phishing scam is basically online fraud, through which attackers send a legitimate-looking email to an organization and demand sensitive information. Not only do these appear like they’re from a proper company but also include a link that could take you to a website where you need to enter some information to sign up, subscribe, or get access to the website. The website and email are fake, and the information you put in goes right in the hands of the crooks responsible for the scam.
As the name suggests, it is a spin word for 'fishing' because the cybercriminals are literally dangling a trap with an attractive bait and waiting for the user to take a bite of it. The information required may include passwords, usernames, account numbers, credit card details. Etc.
What Makes Certain Companies to Vulnerable to Phishing Attacks
Unfortunately, one can never be careful enough when it comes to computer security. In fact, even some of the most major organizations fail to train their employees for information security and do not have the required tools to improve their defenses.
Employees have great know-how about the organization, especially that which leads to the success. However, the same information can also be misused to breach the company's security. Therefore, it is crucial that you train your employees and offer data security training to prepare them to face such scams.
The purpose of phishing is to collect as much as information from the organization that helps the attackers to gain access to the otherwise protected networks and data. Usually, the failure on the part of the employees' judgment could allow the gain of access to such information. And with attackers becoming smart and more technologically updated, it is important to keep up with the changing trends by offering proper cybersecurity training to the employees and upgrading the security tools. But that's not all. There's much more an organization can do to prevent phishing scams in 2019.
Top Ways to Prevent Phishing Scams
The following ways highlight clues that organizations can use to tip the fraudulent and threatening cybercriminal activity off the ground
Train Your Employees
We cannot emphasize this particular aspect enough. An organization is only vulnerable if the employees aren't aware of such security threats and how to deal with them. Opening phishing emails or providing information can be the ultimate way to give access to the sensitive information to the attackers. If an employee is trained and can easily differentiate between a legit email and a legit-looking email, the problem can be solved there and then.
Moreover, set limits to how much an employee can share. Regardless of the position or knowledge about the sensitive information of the organization, an employee must never be the reason for the breach of security - even if it's just getting trapped in the phishing scam. Thus, it's crucial to train your employees and keep up with information security to deal with the issue at first hand.
With 2019 approaching, there's speculation that cybercriminals will develop new phishing scams to become more sophisticated with their targeting methods and victims. Unless you keep yourself updated about the new phishing techniques, there's a high possibility you can fall prey to one. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times for phishing scam news. By learning about these possibilities as early as possible, you can reduce the risk of becoming a target. Again, for IT administrators, continuous security training will ensure your organization is on top of these new techniques.
Do Not Click
It's best if you are well informed about the trusted sites. Go on and click whatever you are presented with. However, think twice before you do that with instant messages or random emails. No matter how secure or legit it appears, there's always a risk and being extremely cautious about it is a smart move.
Things may appear as real as they should be. But the key is to identify the red flags, such as:
- Websites with no real contact information
- Emails that begin with sir, madam or dear customer instead of your name
- Grammatical errors
- The message doesn't make sense
- The email isn't relevant to your business
- Too much pressure on opening the link and filling out information
- Asking for private information such as passwords, credit card information, etc.
Have the Right Tools
Use anti-phishing toolbars for your browsers. Make sure you find the most reliable one available. These tools can help run a quick check on the website to identify its authenticity. To confirm its reliability, make sure you run it on the known phishing sites. The website will alert you if you come across any such site so you can shut it down right away.
Don't Underestimate Pop-Ups
Most phishing websites may even appear as a pop up on your browser. Do not let these phishing attempts to target you. You can use the browser to block pop-ups and even avoid visiting websites that lead to those pop-ups. Also, if any pop-up slips through the crack, always use the tiny x button to close it instead of clicking on 'close' or 'cancel.'
Never Let Sensitive Information Out
As a rule of thumb never share financial or personal information on the internet. This is the best way to avoid phishing scams and various other malicious scams out there. Regardless of the device or place of use, an employee must never make confidential or private entries on the internet to the links opened through emails. Also, make it a habit to check the website address because only an authentic website will start with 'https.'
Hackers are getting access to credit cards, passwords, and other sensitive information, using phone calls, social media, email, and any form of communication. The idea is to steal valuable data. Major businesses with more sensitive data are, of course, a more attractive target for hackers. As far as cyber threats and scams are concerned, phishing attacks are one of the most common security challenges that companies, agencies, and government individuals are facing in keeping their information secure.