Email Phishing: What To Look Out For Before You Click

The importance of cyber security cannot be overstated whether you’re speaking about individual or company security. This is especially true given the fact that we are heavily dependent on the internet, which exposes us to the world’s hackers.

What Is Email Phishing?

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack that is performed with the intention of obtaining sensitive information such as employee login details or the contact details of their superiors. This is achieved through the use of emails that are created in a manner that compels a percentage of people to open them. These emails often contain malware that steals information from the recipient and they have been found to increase during times of crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Why Is Email Phishing Especially Dangerous During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

Email phishing has always been a dangerous security threat, but it has become much more dangerous during the COVID-19 pandemic because with so many people confined to their homes, they are turning to the internet for information, shopping and interacting even more than before. It’s important to note that not everyone using the internet is knowledgeable on the many dangers that lurk there.

Many people have not had sufficient exposure to the internet for them to be able to discern normal behavior and suspicious behavior online. A prime example of this are the kids who have been forced to adopt an online learning model where they depend heavily on their gadgets to access the internet. Most of them do not yet have the experience to discern what websites or types of communication they can trust.

Another reason that makes users especially vulnerable to email phishing attempts is the fact that we are all under a state of duress because of the pandemic. Community restrictions are in effect, many of us are isolated from our support groups and most of us have had to adjust the way we learn or earn money. When a person is under emotional and financial stress, the person’s ability to make sound decisions can be adversely affected by the pressure forced upon him or her by the pandemic.

This makes a person more desperate for a way out of a difficult predicament, which in turn, makes them susceptible to scams and false promises. Remember that when a thing is too good to be true, it’s likely that it isn’t. And while this general rule is bound to save you most of the time, there are more specific ways to guard against email phishing attempts.

How Do You Guard Against them?

There are a few ways through which you can guard against email phishing. But, as a general rule, it requires that you exhibit a good degree of vigilance and foresight. Some concrete examples are as follows:

Be cautious with the communications you receive.

If your email comes from an unfamiliar source, it’s important to treat it with caution, especially when the sender doesn’t have a valid reason to communicate with you.

Do not click on any links within the email.

Hackers and scammers tend to embed harmful links within these emails that redirect the recipient to a harmful website. Remember to mouse over the link before clicking to ensure that the link does not direct you anywhere other than what the anchor text shows.

Never enter any personal information in a pop-up window.

Pop-up windows are easily mistaken for prompts. But be that as it may, there shouldn’t be any reason for a pop-up window to be showing up in an email. It’s important to ensure that the only time that you input sensitive information is on official software, not through email.

Consider installing a phishing filter.

A phishing filter works in the same way that the spam folder does in that it keeps phishing emails from being displayed in your inbox, thus eliminating the threat that phishing emails pose. However, it’s also important to note that just because an automated process is watching your back doesn’t mean that you can get away with being complacent. Remember that it’s of utmost importance to always stay vigilant and careful.

It’s also important to safeguard your information offline. While coworking spaces like Novel Coworking Seattle are generally safe and secure, in the spirit of vigilance and foresight, you should ensure that your firewall is up whenever you connect to a public network. You might even want to consider getting a VPN to ensure that your connection is not intercepted by hackers.

Cyber security has never been more important than it is today, especially with the looming advent of the internet of things. The internet truly is a gift that enables us to stay productive and connected even when we’re miles away but it is also home to many dangers. Tread carefully, and use this information well.

Photo: Pexels
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