The Internet is a vast ocean filled with all sorts of different creatures. Many are harmless, like the bottlenose dolphin, but once in a while you will encounter an aggressive shark. But no matter how powerful or intelligent these creatures are, they still wind up flopping around on the deck of some fisherman's boat. Why? Because fishermen know what they're looking for and how to capture it. The same can be said about Internet phishers.
While operating a small business, Internet phishers are the last thing you want to deal with. They are the greasy, scummy pirates that are looking to loot your company for all it's worth. They can electronically steal your sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, through fake emails, pop-up scams, and other "digital lures." This is generally done through a request for personal information, and is often fairly difficult to distinguish from the genuine article. But fear not! XFER is here to make sure you'll never be hooked by these brigands. Here are some tips to avoid Internet phishing scams.
Watch Where You're Swimming
The primary way phishers will strike is by email. Always be wary, and never reply to emails from senders that you don't recognize. These emails usually go directly to your spam folder, so be especially careful of anything in this folder. One tool that will act as a life jacket in a sea of spam is an enterprise-level spam security solution from XFER. It's a key component for your IT security. If a spam message makes it past your spam folder and lands in your inbox, look for subtle hints, such as lack of customization in signatures, or logos that just plain don't look right. And never click on links in spam emails. Ever.
If you still aren't sure, carefully mouse over the link and see if it's going somewhere you'd expect. If the URL looks a little fishy, you are probably being baited. In this case, it's good to be coy.
Venture Only into Secure Waters
Not every website on the Internet is secure, but then again, you're not likely to enter your personal information into every website you visit. Many phishers will try to get you to visit a website that looks like the real deal, but it won't be encrypted. What this means is that hackers can access any data you input, and likely commandeer your computer, as well. Be very careful not to enter any sensitive information unless the URL is preceded by "https://", which indicates that the web address is encrypted.
Keep Your Treasure Chest to Yourself
Absolutely, positively, never, ever share your personal information with a stranger, especially over email (or via message in a bottle). Anyone can access that data while it's en route to its destination. That's practically biting the line. Even if you're sending your information to a trusted individual, it's still a bad idea over email. Data can be compromised, and you don't want to take that kind of risk. A legitimate company will offer you a better way for you to submit your sensitive information to them, like an encrypted form on their official webpage.
Cast Your Own Nets of Protection
One of the best ways to protect yourself from phishing attacks is to put up your own defenses. Activating antivirus software will help keep your computer and data from being compromised, and help halt any attempt at getting to your personal information. However, even the best security solution will fall short if the security measures are bypassed because the PC user is tricked into thinking the message is legitimate. Therefore, the very best thing you can do is to educate yourself and your staff on what phishing scams to specifically look out for.
What's the Porpoise (sorry for all the fish puns) of This?
It's good to be vigilant, but there's nothing quite like a backup plan for when the phishing line sneaks through your defenses. One such plan is to have your data backed up. Resorting to a backed up version of your data is like hitting the reset button after getting caught in a trap (unless they stole your credit card information - then you're just a fish out of water). Do you need help identifying the traps of the Internet's waters? Contact XFER at 734-927-6666 / 800-438-9337 and you won't have to worry about being caught in phisherman's nets!
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