Phishing is a type of cybercrime where a user is contacted via email, phone or text message. The message is from someone pretending to be a legitimate institution to lure sensitive data such as personal identification information, bank and credit card details and passwords from individuals.
Common warning characteristics of phishing
- Unknown or atypical sender – if you do not know the sender or if you have anything suspicious about your name or address, delete the message.
- Even unrealistic lucrative offers – lucrative offers or headlines attracting attention. If the message is too good to be true, don’t click on it.
- Demand – messages require immediate action, pushing for limited time to get an advantage or information. A common example is the threat of account termination if you don’t immediately enter personal information.
- Attachments – never open attachments in mail from unknown senders or with unexpected content. You can bring ransom ware or viruses to your computer.
- Hyperlinks – always mouse to the line before clicking on the link to see where it’s really headed. If the URL is completely unknown and does not share the alleged sender or text of the mail, or if it is a slightly changed known name, be sure not to click the link.
How to prevent phishing attacks
- use spam filters
- change your browser settings to prevent suspicious pages from opening
- when verifying or entering data, always check that it is not just an effort to obtain your data, if you suspect contact the institution in person
- before clicking on the link, go to the link and make sure that the page has an SSL certificate; if the URL contains “https”, the page has this certificate
- follow the warnings of your bank or financial institution that monitor phishing attempts and inform their clients