McAfee is not alone in the computer industry in advising its customers how not to become a victim of phishing scams. They provide a number of top tips as to how to avoid falling fall prey to such skulduggery.
Although there are thousands of variations out there, phishing scams are all based on one idea: the bogus email, or instant message, which requests personal information.
Cybercriminals use phishing attacks to trawl for people’s IDs, username and passwords, so that they can copy an identity and breach someone’s bank, or shopping account.
The bogus email plays upon people’s natural inclination to answer an email which they believe at first sight comes from their bank, or online merchant. And phishing emails are becoming ever more sophisticated, becoming very good copies of the actual organisations they are pretending to be.
So take it from McAfee, there are a number of things you can do to avoid being trapped by such attacks.
Firstly, and most importantly, do not respond to emails – even if they appear to be from your bank, or online merchant – that ask you for personal information. In fact, never, ever send back your personal details in an email. Remember that banks and online merchants will never ask for such information via an email. They have it anyway and also, they are only too well aware of the trouble that phishing attacks create.
Secondly, never follow links in an email which appear to link you with your banking, or online merchants sites. Never follow these links, as they could take you onto a very good copy of an existing institution, but actually just be there to take note of your personal details, usernames and passwords.
Thirdly, when you want to visit your bank site, or online merchant, be sure to type the address that you know is correct into your web browser. This ensures that you go to the legimate site and not a bogus site, and you can conduct legimate business. You can also go in of course via a bookmark, or shortcut that you have created yourself.
Fourthly, don’t forget, that if you are ever unsure about an email, you can always telephone your bank, or online merchant, and check with them to see what they might have sent you.
McAfee provide constant updates on the top phishing scams and the top ten are currently (words in the subject line):
- security alert!
- account notification!
- account notification
- please confirm your data!
- Chase Bank: online banking notification
- Chase Bank: necessary to be read!
- Chase Bank: important notice
- Chase Bank: important security notice
- Chase Bank: account secure confirmation
- Chase Bank customer service: security alert.
And the top brands currently being exploited by phishing attacks are:
- Amazon (72%)
- Commonwealth Bank (14%)
- eBay (9%).
Guest Article by Neil Camp