So as we move ahead with a series of articles on internet security and general safety for we want to explore what it means to go “Phishing”.  Not with a rod and reel like our parents did with us when we were little.  And not like seeking compliments by telling people how fat we feel after we have just lost 10lbs.  No, we are talking about a much more sinister and clandestine type of “Phishing”.  In the IT world phishing is something that we pay close attention to and warn the clients and colleagues about all the time.  And in the social media age of today it relates to those weird emails and posts that we see all over Facebook that tempt us to click on the most unbelievable things.

In the most technical of terms as recorded on the Almighty Wikipedia, “Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.[1][2] Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure unsuspecting public. Phishing emails may contain links to websites that are infected with malware.[3] Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofing[4] or instant messaging,[5] and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to deceive users,[6] and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies.[7] Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures. Many websites have now created secondary tools for applications, like maps for games, but they should be clearly marked as to who wrote them, and you should not use the same passwords anywhere on the internet”.  Whew!!  That was a mouthful.  But at the end of the day I think we all get the basic point.  So much of your critical information can be stolen from you when you open links on your computer from unfamiliar locations.  So be on the lookout for outrageous headlines and scammers who entice people on the internet with get rich quick opportunities.

So let’s look at some easy ways to protect yourself and avoid these attacks.

1. Guard against spam. Be especially cautious of emails that:

* Come from unrecognized senders.

* Ask you to confirm personal or financial information over the Internet and/or make urgent requests for this information.

* Aren’t personalized.

I promise you that their really is no prince in Nigeria who wants to send you money.

  • 2. Communicate personal information only via phone or secure web sites. In fact:When conducting online transactions, look for a sign that the site is secure such as a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a “https:” URL whereby the “s” stands for “secure” rather than a “http:”.

    Also, beware of phone phishing schemes. Do not divulge personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call. Be cautious of emails that ask you to call a phone number to update your account information as well.

Stay Tuned for Pt. 2!!