Phishing Attacks: How To Avoid the Bate This Christmas
Christmas is just around the corner and we are all pre-occupied with ordering gifts for our friends and family. Unfortunately, online scammers try to take advantage of the busy festive period by relieving people of their money and data through deceiving emails.
Google, PayPal, Amazon, Yahoo and Apple are heavily targeted for attacks because Cybercriminals impersonate the very sites that people trust and use frequently.
With the scammers out in force we advise you to be vigilant and only use safe and reputable websites. Only ever click links from sources that you trust.
One of the most common threats comes in the form of an email, and during this time of year we see an increase in such messages.
Hackers are up to their old tricks, and we should all be wary of emails we receive. Be on the look-out for emails containing such things as those listed below:
- Speeding Fines
- Tax rebate
- Shipping status
These are likely to be phishing attempts that could lead to your details being harvested, ransomware infections and more.
Always be vigilant with any email message you receive, especially with those that have attachments. Question them, before you open them. If you are not expecting the email, then it is more than likely an attempt to hijack your computer. If you’re unsure, because the senders email address is recognised, call them to confirm.
Attachments are known to have the ability to steal passwords if you were to open them. They can inject coding into your computer to look for when you browse your bank’s website or PayPal for example. The aim is to get you to sign in with your login details, which they then use to steal money from your bank.
If links or documents are opened, they may appear not to do anything. However, behind the scenes these will run a script that will encrypt all files/folders you have access to and demand payment to unlock them.
Nowadays it is highly likely that you have some sort of anti-virus software scanning your emails. At present phishing emails are getting through such defences. Vendors are continually working to update their detection engines to catch such viruses.
If you’re unsure whether an email is legitimate or not, NCC ITS’ advice is to the email.