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The Risks of a Phishing Attack and How to Minimize it

To ensure that you don’t fall prey, it’s better to know what a phishing attack looks like. Here are Six Tips to keep in mind while you are online.

What is every hacker’s weekend break? They go phishing!
Even if the pun has landed flat, phishing attacks have become more and more prevalent in recent years. It’s essential to understand what a phishing attack is and why it poses a significant risk to online users.

A phishing attack attempts identity theft by stealing sensitive or personal information. Phishing emails are an example of cyberattacks. It looks like it’s from one of our trusted contacts but directs you to a malicious website. These websites can steal your personal information, such as credit card numbers or login credentials, which the attacker can then use to damage your online reputation. The aim of phishing is usually financial gain, but it can also be used for espionage or political purposes.

Phishing in the Cyber World

The structure of phishing has changed to accommodate the types of messages exchanged with people who work from home or do more shopping online, particularly statements about packages being delivered. As the subtlety of phishing attacks increases, they are becoming worrisome. People who are unaware and less cautious about it are the most prone to it.

The average cost of data breaches in 2021 was the highest in the past 17 years, rising from US$3.86 million to US$4.24 million on an annual basis.
To ensure that you don’t fall prey, it’s better to know what a phishing attack looks like. There are different types of phishing attacks: spear-phishing (targeted) and whaling (high level).

Spear phishing – Spear phishing is when the accumulated emailing is targeted to a specific section of people. Mass fraud emails are sent, expecting only a little to respond and fall for it. Spear phishing has a motive and a fixed audience to be targeted. It has better results in people who fail to understand the pattern of emails.

Whaling – This is another phishing attack that concerns high-profile people who work and associate with wealthy individuals and companies. While the pool of potential whaling targets at one organization may be smaller than the whole team, the stakes are much higher. Because of the seniority factor, individuals may have greater access to sensitive data than the average employee. They have access to more classified information through their internal credentials, and in some cases, they may even have administrator rights.

Phishing Prevention!
The cyber security industry has been fighting against these attacks with data encryption and two-factor authentication tools. However, there is no foolproof way to protect oneself from being hacked, so vigilance is essential. Here are Six Tips to keep in mind while you are online:

Don’t fall for the obvious: Some emails and websites mention a made-up name with an authentic site. Check the website URL and notice weird irregularities, if any. Make it a habit to be aware of what you are clicking into.

Never share your personal information online until necessary: Personal information like address, gender identity, mobile number, financial details shouldn’t be shared at all until the source is 100% trusted. Such pilferages of lead can cause character assassination of an individual.

Change Password frequently: Passwords are like toothbrushes. Don’t share them with anyone and change them every six months. That will maintain your hygiene while you are scrolling through.

Update when asked: When your browser gives a new update, don’t delay it for eternity. Firewall and antispyware should be used to be safeguarded from the threats of a phishing attack.

Pop-ups are the technological temptations: There are a million temptations, and pop-ups are the devious ones. These can be avoided simply by blocking them. They instruct users about fake “ransomware detected” and ask for the phone number to be shared for assistance.

Don’t forget to Report a fraudulent email: When you notice something suspicious, don’t just ignore it. Be conscious of others who might face it and report it right away.

It’s well said that building a reputation takes years but destroying it takes a minute of carelessness and hours of a phishing scam. So, be aware of your surroundings and make sure you don’t fall for a trap designed to take advantage of your time and efforts.

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