What Are Phishing Attacks and How Do They Affect My Privacy?


    Did you know that 97%
    of internet users
    can’t recognize a sophisticated phishing email?

    Phishing attacks are on the rise, and though it’s easy to grow jaded
    with news of the latest types of scams, it’s more important than ever to be
    able to recognize them. After all, with your sensitive information at stake,
    you have a lot to lose—and a lot to accidentally hand to the wrong online

    If you’re not sure what phishing
    means, or how to recognize this type of scam, read on to stay informed.

    Is a Phishing Attack?

    Before we dive into the details,
    let’s take a look at the phishing definition.

    Phishing is a type of cyberattack
    that prompts a victim to share sensitive information, click a link, or download
    a file. This prompt may come via email, SMS, or social media.

    When phishing scams ask for personal
    information, it’s usually a request for passwords or account numbers. When
    these attacks prompt users to click a link or download a file, the result is
    often an installation of malicious viruses onto the user’s device.

    This type of attack works through
    social engineering, meaning the use of psychological manipulation to get
    someone to make a security mistake. As for the meaning of “phishing,” the name
    comes from the idea of scammers “fishing” for information, with the “ph”
    spelling as a reference to “phone phreaking.”

    Does Phishing Affect My Privacy?

    If you fall prey to a phishing
    attack, you may find your privacy compromised in a number of ways.

    First, you could end up giving
    sensitive information to a complete stranger online. While some phishing
    attacks may be designed to look like messages from a bank, your HR department,
    or your best friend, the actual recipient may be someone without your best
    interests in mind.

    Next, you might fall prey to
    malicious malware or ransomware that affects your device. This is why it’s
    important to follow basic phone and laptop
    security tips

    In addition, some phishing scams may
    even request money transfers from people swearing to be charitable
    organizations or long-lost relatives.

    At the end of the day, each phishing
    attack can look different and affect you in a different way—so recognizing
    these scams is critical.

    Can I Avoid Phishing Attacks?

    The Federal Trade Commission has a
    list of useful resources
    to help users recognize and prevent online
    phishing scams. Taking some time to recognize common tactics can make you more
    likely to recognize them in the future.

    In addition, it’s a good idea to
    install security software on your phone, laptop, tablet, and any other devices
    you use. Protecting your accounts with strong passwords and two-factor
    authentication can also help prevent certain types of phishing.

    Take the Bait

    The best thing you can do to protect
    yourself online is to treat messages and links with a healthy dose of
    suspicion. Be careful not to let your guard down, and avoid giving anyone your
    blind trust. In the sophisticated digital world, staying educated about
    phishing attacks can help you keep up with the trends and stay safe!

    Want more of the crucial tech tips
    you need to know? Check out our other posts for additional advice.


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