Hacking or phishing attacks are a real possibility for anyone who uses the internet. If you are using your credit card on websites without SSL certificate, you are especially vulnerable. A phisher will use fake websites, email addresses or even phone calls. They will present themselves as reputable companies, and try to get personal information from you. Once they get this information, they will use it to steal from you; whether money or essential data.
It is, however, possible to protect yourself from attacks. We will share some tips on how to avoid phishing hacking attacks.
1. Only Use Secure Websites
Do not use any website that is not secure. If someone you do not know asks for personal information, using email or a login form on a website that is not secure, do not respond.
A secure website should have a written policy telling you what the information is for. Also, check that it has an SSL Certificate; you will know this if the site has HTTPS - the S means it is secure. Such sites will protect any data you share.
2. Understand the Privacy Policies on Websites
Even if a website has HTTPS, do not share your information carelessly. Be careful about those that sell your contact information to other parties. You never know where your data will end up. It could land into the hands of hackers, thereby exposing you to phishing.
Carefully review and understand all the policies before divulging any information.
3. Avoid Suspicious URLs
Do not click on any suspicious URL. Hover over it to see whether it links to where it says it should. For instance, if the site is about pets, but when you Hover over the URL it takes you to a site which is totally unrelated to the subject, do not explore it further by clicking on it.
Clicking on the URL could direct you to a site that may have malicious Intent.
4. Be Careful About Shortened Links
There are some services like tinyurl and bit.ly which will track links and reduce a URL size. A shortened link will, however, not give you any information about the destination, so you are not sure whether you will land on a phishing page.
Legitimate businesses will avoid using shortened links. You may, therefore, want to avoid emails from them.
5. Invest in Good Antivirus and Other Software
You’re vulnerable to phishing attack from malware that hackers install into your computer. Once they get access, they will extract essential data like passwords, usernames amongst others.
Install an anti-virus with anti-phishing software to protect your computer. Also have email filters, web filters, a firewall, blocks for pop-ups and a browser that supports security features. Always remember to run updates so that you benefit from the latest security features.
6. Be Careful About Enabling Content
Be careful about emails with attachments because phishers will install malware on them. An email that asks you to enable content can be dangerous as you may enable a downloader that installs software, which could infect your computer. Only enable content from trusted sources. If possible, contact the sender anytime you get an email with such a message, and confirm with them that what they have sent is safe.
7. Deleting Suspicious Email Is an Option
If you receive an email that does not give you contact information about who has sent it, neither can you find any information about the sender anywhere, do not open it. Completely delete it from your computer.
8. Note Any Typing Errors
If you receive an email with typing errors, the possibility of it being harmful is very high. Typing errors could indicate that the email contains malicious content which could expose you to hackers.
9. Avoid Messages with A Lure
Have you ever received those messages that ask you to click on a link to win a lot of money? Such words are very popular with phishers. The phisher will ask you to download a file which has malware that will install itself into your computer. What makes it very tricky is that you may not even be aware that the malicious content has been installed, leaving you at risk.
10. Other Tips to Consider
If possible, disable HTML emails. It is difficult for malware to launch directly from text-only emails. Make sure that you encrypt any sensitive data. Encrypting data is especially crucial for companies that handle a lot of data. Make sure that you check your bank accounts routinely. If you notice any suspicious activities, report it immediately.
Any internet user is vulnerable to phishing, and you need to take a due care to protect yourself. By using our tips above, you can lower the chances of losing valuable information to hackers. Be careful about the sites you visit, what you download, and have the necessary anti-virus and anti-phishing software in your computer.
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