Phishing is a threat to every user on the internet and one of the easiest scams to fall victim to. This method of scam is the leading cause of identity theft on the internet and causes billions of dollars damage world wide every year. In this article, we will cover what phishing is and some anti phishing methods you can use to prevent it ever happening to you.
What Phishing Is:
Phishing is the act of sending fraudulent emails to gain financial information. Most times the phisher poses as a well known and respected legitimate company, like a bank or a payment institution, so users will give up their information like passwords, bank accounts, credit card and social security numbers easily. Most phishing emails contain content that asks you to verify or confirm your information, usually the user clicks on this without a second thought and they are redirected to a website where their information is recorded by the phisher.
How To Recognize Phishing Emails:
In the beginning many phishing emails could be recognized by simple spelling mistakes and urls that people were sent to, but as more phisher's joined the ranks and the technology grew on, the harder it was to distinguish which emails were frauds and which were real. Some phishing urls are even identical to the real ones and websites can be easily crafted to look like the company the phishers are posing as, by the use of scripts. But there are still ways that you can determine if they are fraudulent or not because many companies today have taken some anti phishing methods themselves to try and stop the process, some of them are:
Addressing the member by their name or user name - most phishing emails are address 'dear valid customer'
Secret questions - these questions are asked on sign up and are your choice. The answers are answers that only you can know, so if a phisher does try to log into your account, they usually can't get pass the questions and are not allowed access.
Special images - many companies have started to bring in an image verification - this works by the user selecting an image on sign up that is displayed every time you are signed in. if the image doesn't show up, then you are not on the real website.
These are just some of the anti phishing techniques and you should not rely on them alone, you should also take some methods yourself to prevent yourself falling victim to a phishing attack.
One of the best ways to prevent a phishing attack is to use phishing software. There are many products on the market and many come with or are included in anti virus and anti spam software. Most anti phishing programs works by using a filter, much like an anti spam filter. The program filters through your incoming emails searching for any content within the message or in urls that may be phishing related or carries phishing software. If such emails are found they are deleted while you normal email gets filtered through to your inbox.
Though phishing isn't as popular as it was before, it is still around and can cause you a lot of stress and even money loss, so it is always important to take anti phishing methods to ensure you will never fall victims to their attacks.