Email or phishing scams have become popular in today’s online environment. Although they’ve become an order of the day, many people still seem to get caught. Attackers create replica websites of big brands and use them to collect information from unsuspecting people.
Mainly, attackers send links to these websites to user emails. They also include calls to action that create a sense of urgency, making users submit their information without a second thought. This article focuses on how you can avoid email scams and secure your sensitive information.
Let’s get started with it.
1. Know What an Email Scam Looks Like
The first thing that you must do is having an in-depth understanding of what email scams look like practically. You will realize that attackers come with new phishing tactics every day. Thus, companies and their employees need to update their knowledge about these scams regularly.
Even with employee training, curbing phishing has been a challenge. According to reports, email phishing for US companies started over 25 years ago. The 2017 revelation by FireEye of how North Korean hackers target US companies is a case in point.
Despite proving the vulnerability critical company infrastructure, it showed the need to educate employees on email scams. More research also proved that up to 90% of company attacks start with phishing. Investing more on awareness will help cut down on cyberthreats.
2. Always Think Twice Before Clicking
You also need to beware of suspicious emails and links from unverifiable sources. But then, phishing attackers no longer appear suspicious at a glance.
You will think that the email you receive is from a trusted source the first time you look at it, and that can make it tempting to click on them.
One thing you need to look for in every email is a link. You should avoid clicking on any link attached to an email without confirming its source. The best way to avoid getting caught is by typing in the website URL into your browser and accessing it rather than directly clicking on the link.
Browser fingerprinting is a technique used to track and identify unique characteristics of a user’s web browser, such as installed fonts, browser plugins, and screen resolution, for the purpose of tracking and identifying the user’s online activity.
3. Install Firewalls
Firewalls are vital security tools today, and you need them for various reasons. One of the best things that they do is prevent external attacks from affecting your network.
Most of the attacks that firewalls prevent originate from emails and malicious links. In short, it acts as a shield between you and the attacker.
There are two main types of firewalls that you can use – network and desktop. You can also combine them for a more rewarding experience regarding security. The best thing about combining the two is that it increases your security even further and keeps malicious persons away from your network. NERC compliance standards must be met by the security measures that you use.
4. Don’t Give Your Information to an Unsecured Site
One way to expose your network to attackers is by submitting information without due diligence. When you open a site from a URL sent to your mail, the first thing to do is look for the lock.
The HTTP system is a security function that every website needs and is recommended by security bodies like the NERC CIP for every website, especially e-commerce sites.
An HTTPS sign on a website means that the website you’re about to access is secure. You should never click on a website that lacks this security feature or submit any sensitive details to it. In this age of HTTPS, there’s no excuse to willing entirely giving your information to the wrong website.
5. Know the Common Phishing Language
Email attackers use specific terms and phrases to lure you into submitting your information. You will most likely see an email with the subject ‘verify your account now.’ Many such emails convey a sense of urgency and push you to make irrational decisions.
Most of the time, legit organizations or brands won’t ask you to submit any details. Besides, they will address you directly; something phishing attackers do not do. Many such emails also end up in your spam box, don’t open them if you regularly open your spam box.
6. Don’t be Tempted by Those Pop-ups
Pop-ups are among the most irritating things you can find online. Besides being annoying, they can also carry malware that can cause devastating effects on your network. Additionally, they can be tempting to click on, especially employees with little or no knowledge about malware.
The first thing to do is educate your employees about pop-ups and how they can compromise your network. Next, you need to download an ad-blocker that will prevent these pop-ups from showing on your screen. Some pop-ups still find their way even with an ad-blocker – do not click on them.
7. Rotate Passwords Regularly
Sticking with the same password for too long isn’t a great thing to do. If you have got multiple online accounts, the best thing to do is updating these passwords often. That will help to prevent unauthorized access from malicious persons even if they access your old password.
Besides, sometimes it takes too long to know that your online accounts are compromised. Or you could have mistakenly opened an email and clicked on a malicious link.
You will be safer if you have an extra layer of protection, such as regular password rotation on all online accounts.
8. Don’t Ignore Those Updates
It is vital to secure your network from attackers with to-notch security. The software used to ensure there’s enough security needs to be updated from time to time. Most of the time, people ignore or postpone these updates. However, that creates security holes on a network and exposes it.
As mentioned earlier, attackers change tactics regularly. That makes it vital to come up with modern solutions to counter them.
Security software providers regularly update their systems and send you updates. The best thing to do is install these updates as soon as possible to ensure your system is safe.
Getting scammed out of your hard-earned cash can be painful. Also, it can be embarrassing if someone ruins your reputation by using your private details to scam people. There is no doubt that email scams are not going away any time soon.
Utility Dive mentions SMS texting as one of the options organizations are exploring in a bid to mitigate email scams. It isn’t clear yet how helpful that will be but the tips mentioned above are tested and proven for email scam prevention.