Just when you were getting the hang of what Phishing was all about, the world of online hacking and cybercrime has moved on to the next level. We now have the new and improved version called Spear Phishing.
Phishing versus Spear Phishing
Phishing and spear phishing are similar in that they both trick you into stealing sensitive data like your login credentials, credit card information etc. Phishing is usually done through emails that are made to look trustworthy and from an authentic source. They can also be done through phone calls and social media messages. They are less work for the attackers as they are sent in bulk to potential victims.
Spear Phishing on the other hand are more personal in nature and appear to come from a trusted source like your friend. The attackers gain personal information about you like your friends, places you have visited, purchases you have done etc. This information is used to create genuine looking e-mails coming from a friend or something that your friend has recommended. This is also used to get confidential information from businesses.
Safeguard yourself from spear phishing
Whether you are a business or an individual, it is important to protect yourself from spear phishing. If WikiLeaks can get access to extremely secure U.S government documents as witnessed in the cablegaterevelation in 2010, it’s clear that everyone is vulnerable. Here is how you can protect yourself.
Do not click links in your e-mail even if it appears to come from your bank. Instead type in the URL on a separate browser.
The mouse over
You can easily detect spam emails and links without clicking on them. Simply hovering over the email address or the link will show the original URL.
Check the URL
Phishing sites use misspelt URLs that look similar to authentic websites. They may even have the original URL name, but with extensions that might be overlooked. If you are unsure, simply close the browser and type the URL yourself.
Don’t save your details
Online purchases are easier when you register your card details to third party vendors. Though they are made to be secure, they are still vulnerable to attacks by hackers.
Check the address bar
The latest browsers are equipped to identify legitimate sites, In fact, the address bar will display a green tint if the site is legitimate.
Be very wary of what you post on your social networking sites. Posting information like your phone number, addresses, your vacation schedule etc., can land you in trouble easily.
Update your software
Periodically update the software on your computer like HBSwiss as they usually contain security updates too to protect your data.
Do not have easy-to-guess passwords or use the same password for all your logins. Also ensure that you regularly change your passwords for your email and bank accounts. Avoid storing your passwords in your e-mail inbox.
Install an anti-virus software to your system and make sure that it has phishing protection included.