Going Phishing

No, I didn’t misspell the title–as most of you already know.

I would suspect all of you have received email from what look like legitimate companies and then…turn out not to be. That is pretty much it. These are criminals fishing to see who will bite.

You have heard me constantly mention having good antivirus and antimalware software for internet security.  Most antivirus software will prevent you from getting viruses through attachments in your email.  Some potential threats will always get through. “Phishing” emails are an example of a threat that is difficult to prevent. Below, you will see an example:

paypal1

Looks official!  In this example the intent is to get you “Verify your Paypal Account” by clicking that link.  It looks legit and often, when you hover over the link, the link address looks legitimate as well.  Most of us will ignore this and simply login to PayPal to check out our account. For some, it is just too convincing and they become one of many who fall for these schemes.  So how should you approach what may seem real?

  • NEVER click on links unless you know who has sent the email and are aware that it is being sent.
  • Check the sender address, not just the contact name that may appear. If you know the sender, email them directly and inquire about the email.
  • Rarely will any Internet company ask you to verify anything. They may email you and ask you to login to your account for a message.  Always open a browser and access their site as you normally would.  Don’t use any “account” link provided in an email.
  • Overall…BE SUSPICIOUS. Don’t really trust anything unusual. People consistently fall for scams that involve email from the IRS.  Trust me, they won’t email you anything.

Lately, I have received emails from my own address using my full name in the contact description. These emails have included attachments. Of course, I just delete them and so should you.  My guess is that others have received these same emails. I have had calls from friends who have asked if I have emailed them something– ugh! This is what I get for having the same email address since around 1990.

Think you or your business might be a victim of email phishing? Contact Magnet Solutions Group at (512) 298-2101 for information on how to recover from it.

Phishing Scam Targets

Internet phishing schemes are targeted at unsuspecting users who may be convinced just enough to let their guard down allowing the bad guys an in. Again, be cautions.

If you get an email from someone you know, that may not necessarily be the case. Many times hackers will “Spoof” an email address and make it appear as though it is from an email address with which you are familiar. These emails will typically be the ones with “ZIP” file (compressed) attachments that they are hoping you will open. Again, show caution and email the person you know to ask if they sent you such an attachment. As the saying goes “better to be safe than sorry”.

Phishing is just one method criminals will use, there are more and they are evolving all of the time. You can keep abreast of most by visiting one of the many anti-virus vendor websites or consider using a more secure email host, such as Microsoft Exchange Online. They freely provide warnings of new schemes on the horizon.

You can also contact one of the IT security experts at Magnet Solutions Group.