In today’s world, everyone needs to understand the dangers of phishing attacks. Every single individual who uses the internet in one way or the other needs to know how to ensure protection against phishing attacks.

What is Phishing?

Almost every one of us is targeted by phishing attacks regularly. Phishing attacks comprise sending fraudulent communication, usually through email, and appearing to come from a genuine, reputable source with the intent to install malware or to steal data. Such phishing emails are so sophisticatedly planned that they would look identical to emails that come from banks, employers, clients etc. Such emails would ask the recipient to click a link or provide personal details. A click on the link could even lead to the installation of malware on the recipient’s system or device.

How to protect yourself from phishing attacks…

Phishing attacks can impact individuals as well as businesses. Individuals need to educate themselves on phishing and also need to train themselves to protect their device, system or data from phishing attacks. Businesses would have to go a bit farther and focus on training/educating their employees as well as using the necessary security software to ensure maximum protection against phishing attacks. Well, individuals too can use security software in addition to training themselves to stay secure of phishing scams.

Let’s take a look at certain preventive measures that people could adopt to protect themselves (and their organizations) from phishing attacks. Here we go:

Check source/domain name of emails asking you to click on a link- Whenever you get an email that asks you to click on a link (or give credentials/download files) it’s always good to check the source, the domain name of the sender’s email. Usually one look would be enough to let you know that the email is fake.

Make calls or contact directly to confirm- Some sophisticated phishing emails seem to be having a genuine email id; the email address of the sender would look very much like a genuine id, of your bank/insurance company or a client of yours. The best option, in such a situation, would be to make calls or contact directly to confirm the genuineness of the email before you click on a link or share some critical data.

Set/adjust email filters- Always set or adjust your email filters to ensure proper filtering or emails. This can help you filter our phishing emails. Once you’re sure that it’s a phishing email, the best thing to do would be to flag it as spam so that you don’t see any more emails coming from that domain.

Contact security professionals if you happen to fall for a phishing scam- If by chance, you happen to fall for a phishing scam and click on a link or share some data, it would be best to contact security professionals immediately upon realizing your mistake. Yes, it might cost you a bit, but that definitely would be negligible compared to the damages that a hacker could cause using a phishing email.

Always stay on the guard, keep educating yourself and your people- In today’s world, where the majority of cyberattacks happen via phishing scams, it’s always best to stay on the guard, irrespective of whether you are an individual user or run an organization. You need to keep educating yourself (and your people) on phishing attacks and prevention tactics. You should train yourself and your employees constantly on how to stay protected against phishing attacks.

Use security software- Businesses always need multi-layered defense software that could ensure maximum protection against phishing scams. As for individuals, they too could invest in having antimalware tools that could guard them against phishing scams, and other kinds of cyberattacks as well.

Postscript- It’s always best to understand that in today’s context, the borderline between individual users and organizations are rather indistinct. An individual user, by clicking on a phishing link on his individual system or even personal device, could cause an entire organization to be impacted by a malware attack. It could even be a devastating ransomware attack that would put the entire data in the organizational network at risk. Hence, it would be wise to have a comprehensive defense plan in place, one that would include individual systems as well as business networks.

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