Prevention is better than consequences. Before we go on to discuss about the ways to survive phishing, let us first get an idea about what it is.
What is phishing?
Not to confuse with fishing (although the idea is same), phishing is a fraudulent attempt to extract sensitive information from online visitors by putting on a veil of a trustworthy and genuine organization. If you have known about cyber crimes, then phishing is just a trivial term.
In 2017, it has been reported by the Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) that USA has faced more than 27482 cases of cyber crime which includes phishing.
What do they look like?
Phishing can come in various forms, like scam emails or links automatically shared from your facebook friend’s account (NOTE: he or she might already be a victim) or messages shared in large groups or pop up messages on apps. The link will open into a fake webpage with a very genuine look and feel. It usually asks the visitors to fill up some type of form that would benefit the visitor. In return, it may ask you for your credit card details, passwords or such sort of private information.
You may start breathing again as there are ways to combat phishing attacks on social platforms. Here’s how you save yourself from the treachery:
1. Stay Informed: Read news and articles online and talk to your friends. Stay updated with the current techniques used often to carry out this malicious crime.
2. No clicking on random links: Don’t click on every link you receive or see while surfing online. That includes linked images and ads. Scams can also turn up in the form of harmless links from innocent people in the comments or reviews section in various Facebook pages. Simply report the comment.
If you are the admin of the page, see how to remove reviews from Facebook. Also, sometimes when you download something, a new tab opens up. CLOSE IT and keep doing your business.
3. Check the URL: You might receive very important or urgent messages with links from recognized organization that looks 100 percent genuine. If you are puzzled about opening the link then that’s a good sign. Take a moment to check the URL of the official website of the same organization and try to match it with the link that they have sent you. A genuine URL will not have the name of the organization with dots or other symbols splitting up the name.
4. Don’t spill out confidential information online: Undeniably we use internet for almost everything. Often when you shop online, you choose the online payment option to cut the hassle. But to protect yourself from phishing attacks on social platforms, avoid shelling out sensitive information online like your bank account no. , card no. or even phone number. The pages may pop-up in a way that would lure you into falling in their bait. For example a fake Facebook registration page or login page or a webpage with products available in huge discounts.
5. Use anti-phishing toolbar: Customize your browser with anti-phishing toolbar to run a quick scan on the sites that you are currently visiting and compare them with the fabricated web pages. If you stop by any malicious site prone to phishing attacks, the anti-phishing toolbar will send an alert message to you. Anti-phishing toolbars come absolutely free.
6. Use firewall settings: Pop-up ads are highly prone to phishing. Put firewalls to create an extra shield, both for your computer and the network. High quality firewalls block such ads and prevent attackers from sipping through your connections.
If you don’t want to be the next victim of phishing attack, follow the tips above and stay safe.