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
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.