An email from a Nigerian Prince/Doctor/Astronaut asking for money or a Russian woman with her broken heart looking for a new lover, sounds familiar? No? Well, maybe an email with weird attachments that you do not recognize? A pop up saying that you have won 39 new iPhones and paid vacations to Bora Bora? If none of these have happened (or they have) to you, a friend or a family member then read carefully because I’m about to explain what causes the most cyber incidents nowadays in big companies and has people like you and me losing valuable things.

Phishing, as the dictionary says (Google actually) is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing can be done by telephone (vishing), text message(SMS phishing) or email (the most common).

Phishing emails usually have these 5 characteristics :

  1. Too Good to be true. ( Click here to get a %100 Scholarship at IE)
  2. Sense of urgency. ( Hurry, you have 5 minutes!!!! )
  3. Hyperlinks. (Click this really not compromising link so you fill-up the format)
  4. Attachments. (Or download this pdf document so your computer crashes)
  5. Unusual sender. ( notaphishingscamatall@inztitutodeempresa.ed.com)

 

You already know what phishing emails have, right? Now follow these steps :

  1. Think Before You Click. (duh!)
  2. Install an Anti-Phishing Toolbar. (Don´t be lazy)
  3. Verify a Site’s Security. (A secure web always has HTTPS instead of just HTTP)
  4. Check Your Online Accounts Regularly. (Just to make sure everything is okay)
  5. Keep Your Browser Up to Date. (This takes a few clicks and not much time)
  6. Use Firewalls. (Please)
  7. Be aware of Pop-Ups. (Those annoying pop-ups)
  8. Never Give Out Personal Information. (Never ever ever ever ever ever )
  9. Use Antivirus Software. (Get a good one)

I have given you characteristics and some steps to follow, you are ready to avoid getting scammed on the internet and maybe teaching your friends and family about it. You are welcome.