How To Avoid Phishing Emails

Phishing scams are social engineering tactics cyber criminals use to steal user data. Login credentials, card details, and sensitive data are all targets of phishing scams. One of the most common methods malicious actors use is phishing emails that appear to be from a trusted source.

When a person opens a phishing email, what will greet you is impossible to predict. The message they see will have been manipulated to pose as legitimate communication. It will aim to dupe the recipient into revealing sensitive information or unintentionally downloading malicious software.

Phishing attacks were the most common form of cyber-attack last year; reported incidents more than doubled from 114,702 in 2019 to 241,324 in 2020. Thankfully, due to their increased frequency, there is more awareness around phishing scams and how to avoid them. With the right cyber security strategy, your organisation can protect its IT infrastructure from phishing emails.

5 Ways To Avoid Phishing Emails

  1. Understand What A Phishing Email Looks Like
  2. Avoid Clicking Unknown Links
  3. Change Passwords Regularly
  4. Don’t Give Out Personal Information
  5. Implement Cyber Security Features

Understand What A Phishing Email Looks Like

Cyber criminals are developing new methods all the time, including new ways for phishing emails to manipulate the recipient. As phishing emails have a similar end goal, they have shared common traits, which makes it simpler to implement cyber security protections compared to other potential threats. A smart way to protect against phishing emails is to monitor the latest methods being used to identify the risks they pose. 

Computer users need to understand what phishing emails are, the threat they possess, and how to avoid falling victim to them. Regular security awareness training reduces the risk of a phishing attack being successful.

Avoid Clicking Unknown Links

The biggest way phishing emails dupe recipients is by convincing them to click a link. Doing so may download malware, which could be any form of malicious software that could cause massive damage to your IT infrastructure. Even if an email is from a sender you recognise, don’t click the link straight away.

One way phishing emails have become more sophisticated is by using the recipient’s real name. A cyber security best practice is to hover over the link to see where it’s directing you and if you’re in doubt, go to the site you want to directly. Always remain vigilant and proceed with caution before clicking a link you receive on email.

Change Passwords Regularly

One way phishing emails target the recipient is by attempting to trick them into revealing confidential information such as passwords. Passwords should never be shared if requested on email to counter this tactic. 

It’s also best practice to monitor who has access to systems so you can identify any unusual activity and quickly spot if a password has been leaked. Changing passwords regularly adds an extra layer of cyber security protection against all forms of cyber attacks, not only phishing emails.

Don’t Give Out Personal Information

It’s not only passwords that shouldn’t be shared over email, users shouldn’t give out any personal information. A phishing email may provide a link that takes you to a shopping website. From there you enter your card details and make a purchase. A confirmation page appears and everything seems ordinary. In reality, while appearing trustworthy and legitimate, the link directed you to a fake site created to steal card details.

This scenario can be avoided by not clicking the link, but you also shouldn’t share sensitive information if requested by email. Always verify if a request is legitimate. For example, call the company you believe is asking for information to check if the phishing email is masquerading as a message from a trustworthy organisation. This is important for financial and any personal information.

Implement Cyber Security Features

Firewalls are a buffer between your IT infrastructure and malware. They act as the last line of defence against malicious actors causing harm to your computer systems. If a link is clicked or a file downloaded that contains malware, firewalls reduce the risk they pose. There are two types: desktop firewalls, which is software, and network firewalls, which is hardware. Both cyber security features complement each other to form effective protection against cyber attacks.

Other cyber security features that protect against phishing scams include anti-virus software. This measure ensures viruses can’t carry out their intended purpose. Email protection software uses machine learning to develop an understanding of phishing emails so they can identify them and notify the recipient. They may block emails being received or apply a warning message to urge caution to the computer user.

Bluecube Cyber Security Protections

Phishing emails pose a big risk to many computer users and organisations. They allow cyber criminals to steal money, access sensitive data, and damage IT systems. Cyber security protection against phishing emails doesn’t have to be complicated, at Bluecube, our expert team helps you to install protections that safeguard against phishing scams.

Learn how to protect against phishing scams, get in touch with Bluecube.

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