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Phishing Scams: How to avoid a malicious attack

Successful phishing scams can be extremely damaging to any business. What is worse is that these nasty scammers are continuously evolving their skills and tactics, trying to get you to reveal personal information in order to get their grubby hands on your money and data. Whilst it’s not possible to avoid a phishing attack entirely, there are certainly a few ways that you can reduce your chances of getting stung.

Written by Adam Bovan

May 2018

Secure software.

You’ve probably heard it all before, but having decent software can give you peace of mind against phishing scams.

Invest in antivirus.

The most obvious step is to buy some quality antivirus software. As well as dealing with phishing attempts, this software can also protect you from other malicious activity lurking about on the web.

A good brand will also keep their virus definitions updated in order to stay alert ware of the new scams that are constantly cropping up.

Don’t forget the firewalls.

On top of this, a firewall will block any malicious files that you happen to accidentally download because it acts as a barrier between your organisation and criminals.

You should have two types of firewall: a desktop firewall that is a piece of software, and a network firewall, which is hardware. When this dynamic duo are used in tandem, they can significantly decrease the odds of you being a victim of phishing.

Use anti-phishing toolbars.

Most internet browsers offer a free anti-phishing toolbar, so why not take advantage of it? This clever plugin compares the websites you are browsing to a list of known phishing sites and alerts you when you unexpectedly visit a dodgy site.

Keep updated.

Whilst having this software in your anti-phishing arsenal is good, you must keep it all updated to ensure it works to its full potential. It may be annoying to keep on top of all the updates, but it’s crucial if you are serious about shielding your company from attacks.

Savvy humans.

A core way of avoiding phishing scams is by using common sense.

Stay informed.

Be sure to keep yourself and your team aware of new phishing techniques and types of attacks. Security awareness training – or some form of ongoing education – across your organisation is a good move towards avoiding a breach.

Again, it’s great that you have fancy software to keep you protected, but this won’t be enough if someone in your office unwittingly reveals sensitive data to a con artist.

Our “How to Spot a Phishing Email” article is a great resource to share with your staff.

Click with care.

One way that these online criminals can trick you is by asking you to click illegitimate links that appear to be genuine and sent from trusted companies.

Only click through if you can 100% trust the sender and the link. Be aware of links and email addresses that are masked – you can usually see their true identity by hovering over the link.

Don’t overshare.

Never give out personal or financial information online. Phishers regularly fool individuals and businesses by requesting that they fill out authentic-looking forms with private credentials.

They can pose as your bank or a supplier to your firm. Even if the person on the other end of the email seems honest, it is worth checking with the supposed sender – perhaps over the phone or in-person – to see if they really do need those all-important details.

Again, it’s impossible for any company to be fully protected against phishing scams, but with these tips, you’ll be better prepared. If you have any more questions or queries, get in touch with one of our IT experts today.

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