How to Shield Yourself Against Phishing: A Quick and Easy Guide

How to Shield Yourself Against Phishing: A Quick and Easy Guide


Phishing is a term that’s thrown around quite a lot these days, and for good reason. Phishing is the process of attempting to trick someone into giving up private information, such as their password or credit card details. It’s an incredibly common cyber attack that can target anyone with an email address. Unfortunately, you might not always be able to tell if a link or website is legitimate or not. If you’re in the unfortunate position of being the victim of phishing, it can be pretty devastating. In some cases, it can even lead to identity theft and other serious consequences. However, if you know what to look out for, it can be easy to avoid becoming a victim of phishing attacks.


Understand the fundamentals of phishing attacks

The most important thing to understand about phishing attacks is that they are primarily focused on deception. This means that a phishing attack may be very convincing, but it is not perfect. There will be some signs and indicators that something is off. You just have to know how and where to look. Phishing attacks rely on incorrect or outdated information, such as URL's, email addresses and other contact information. Phishing attacks take time and money, so the information used will often be incorrect or have typos. The goal of a phishing attack is to trick you into clicking on a link or giving up your information. Phishing attacks often appear to be from legitimate companies or websites, such as your bank, email provider, or even your doctor. Phishing is successful because it relies on surprise and deception, rather than strength and force.


Always check the URL

The first thing you should always do when you’re on a website (whether you’re reading an email, clicking on a link, or any other type of communication) is to check the URL. The URL is how you access the website, and each website has its own unique URL. The URL can usually be found at the top or bottom of the website, or at the end of an email. When you’re accessing a website, the URL will either be blue and underlined, or it will be a different color and not underlined. If the URL is blue and underlined, it means that it is a link. If it’s a different color (usually black), it means that it is a website address. What many people don’t realize is that you can actually change the URL of a website. This means that even if you do check the URL and it does appear legit, it’s still possible that the URL has been altered. Therefore, you absolutely must also check the URL of any website you visit.


Look for odd behavior

If you click on a link or enter a website that you’re not entirely sure about, you can look for any odd behavior. For example, you can look at the loading bar at the bottom of the screen. If the loading bar appears to be taking a long time to load or doesn’t load at all, it may mean that you’re on a fake or altered website. Another thing you can look for is if the website URL changes. If you click on a website link, the URL will change to that website’s unique URL. If the URL doesn’t change, it might mean that you’re on a fake website. You can also check the HTTP. If you don’t see HTTPS, that’s also a sign that you’re on a fake website.


Double-check the sender

The next thing you should always do when receiving an email is to double-check the sender. If you’re not sure about an email, click “show details” or “show original” and take a look at the sender. If the sender is from someone you don’t know, or the email address seems off, it’s likely a phishing attack. You can also check the email address at a website like MX Toolbox. If the sender address is incorrect or points to a website that doesn’t match the email address, it’s likely a fake email. Another thing you can look for is the email footer. You want to make sure that it’s the same as what you would expect to see. You can also check the spelling of the email. If there are a lot of misspellings or odd grammar, it’s likely a fake email.


Don’t enter your password unless you’re 100% sure

You also have to be very careful when entering your password. If you’re logging into a website, be absolutely certain that it’s the correct website. The best way to do this is to type the URL into the address bar yourself. Some browsers will even highlight a legitimate website if you just type the company name. You should also make sure that you’re using a secure connection when entering your password. You can do this by looking for the HTTPS in the URL bar, a green lock icon, or a “Secure” label. If your browser doesn’t have these features, you might want to update your browser so that you can use HTTPS.


Summing up

At the end of the day, phishing is all about deception. Because of this, there are some obvious signs of a phishing attack. All you have to do is know where to look for these signs, and you should be able to easily avoid falling for a phishing scam. It’s important to remember that phishing is a common attack that targets everyone. As long as you’re aware of the signs and are careful about where you click and what you enter, you shouldn’t have any problems avoiding phishing attacks.

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