“The interesting thing about greed is that although the underlying motive is to seek satisfaction, even after obtaining what you want, you're still not satisfied. It's this endless, nagging desire for more that leads to trouble.”
- Dalai Lama
These words are true for many instances but one of the alarming issues that have consumed the cyber world is closely related to the quote above. For when one’s desire and greed go out of control, it becomes easier to control that person. This is how ‘Phishing’ works! Let us take a look at what exactly it is and how to protect ourselves from it.
WHAT IS PHISHING?
A Phishing Attack is a type of cybercrime by which sensitive information like personal details of an individual or security and financial details of an organization is compromised. Victims of such crimes are told that they have won a lottery or they are given some enticing offers and then they are told that to access it they need to provide their details. Victims, blinded by the flashy offers, do not stop to think and do as the attackers say. Before they can realize, their bank accounts are empty
One of the oldest types of cybercrime, Phishing is still among the most common and with the increasing advancement in technology it is only getting more and more destructive.
In the case of individuals, Phishing leads to unauthorized purchases, stealing of funds and identity theft. Whereas, for the businesses, organizations and large entities Phishing can escalate to a security attack, ransom ware attack, etc where employee and customer data, important and compromising company details could be at stake.
HOW TO PREVENT PHISHING ATTACKS?
Phishing attacks mainly occur by clicking baits via email or text messages and phone calls. Here is what you can do to prevent it -
1. NEVER SHARE SENSITIVE INFORMATION – No matter what, your banks never ask you to give out the OTP, password, pin, CVV or debit/credit card details. So, never share your sensitive data with anyone.
2. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – The best way to avoid being a victim of cyber attacks is to be educated about it. Phishing is easier to spot once you know where to look. Gain the basic knowledge of how phishing works, read the news on phishing scams and it can save you for the years to come.
3. GREED IS ROOT OF EVIL – The name of this crime comes from ‘fishing’ because the attacker leaves the bait for you to catch. These baits are in the forms of alluring offers and prizes. Hence, it is important not to hop on a free-ride. Make sure you have applied for some scheme and if it looks suspicious still, contact the source instead of clicking on the links or continuing the phone call.
4. DIAMOND CUTS DIAMOND – The Internet provides many facilities to help us prevent such attacks like – Anti-virus, Anti-Phishing toolbars, etc. Such things quickly run scans of the website you are visiting and stop you.
5. BE ALERT – Your bank or any authentic organizations never ask you to share your personal and financial information via the internet or phone calls. Hence, if you are told to immediately provide such information; do not think twice before disconnecting the call, closing the email and informing the cyber cell.
6. FIREWALLS – Firewalls are a protective bubble for your devices. There are two types of firewall – Software, Desktop firewall & Hardware, Network firewall. When combined they reduce the number of Phishing and hacking attack immensely.
7. UPDATES – All applications and software regularly give out the updates. It is important to install these updates immediately because they come with many bugs fix that stop various cyber-attacks.
8. POP-UPS – When you open a website there are end number of pop-ups. Many of these play a small advertisement of slideshow or video and then give you a ‘CANCEL’ option. But these could be the phishing baits. Hence, always click on the close sign ‘X’ on the upper right corner instead.
9. ANTI-VIRUS – Never install the cheaper or free anti-virus as they do not cover everything. Always install authentic anti-virus with the right schemes to protect everything on your devices.
10. PASSWORDS – It is wise to regularly change your passwords. Along with it never keep the same password twice or for multiple accounts as it becomes easy for cybercriminals to hack into it.
Do look a gift horse in mouth and be safe!