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Quick and Easy Ways to Detect phishing activity

Who hasn’t received an email directing them to visit a familiar website where they are being asked to update their personal information?  The website needs you to verify or update your passwords, credit card numbers, social security number, or even your bank account number.  You recognize the business name as one that you’ve conducted business with in the past.  So, you click on the convenient “take me there” link and proceed to provide all the information they have requested. 

Unfortunately, you find out much later that the website is bogus.  It was created by hackers with the sole intent to steal your personal information.  You, my friend, have just been “phished”.

To learn more about hackers and how they conduct their affairs anonymously, click here

Phishing (pronounced as “fishing”) is defined as the act of sending an email to a recipient falsely claiming to have an established, legitimate business.  The intent of the phisher is to scam the recipient into surrendering their private information, and ultimately steal your identity.

phishing attacks
Cyber attacker using phishing method to hack into a victims’ email server.

It is not at easy as you think to spot an email phishing for information.  At first glance, the email may look like it is from a legitimate company. The “From” field of the e-mail may have the .com address of the company mentioned in the e-mail.  The clickable link even appears to take you to the company’s website, when in fact, it is a fake website built to replicate the legitimate site. for instance “support@paypaI.com” instead of “support@paypal.com” and “support@g00gle.com” instead of “support@google.com”.

Many of these people are professional criminals.  They have spent a lot of time in creating emails that look authentic, you need to review all emails requesting personal information carefully.  When reviewing your email remember that the “From Field” can be easily changed by the sender.  While it may look like it is coming from a .com you do business with, looks can be deceiving. 

Always, keep in mind that the phisher will go all out in trying to make their email look as legitimate as possible for you.  They will even copy logos or images from the official site to use in their emails.  Finally, they like to include a clickable link that the recipient can follow to conveniently update their information.

A great way to check the legitimacy of the link is to point at the link with your mouse. Then, look in the bottom left-hand screen of your computer.  The actual website address to which you are being directed will show up for you to view.  It is a very quick and easy way to check if you are being directed to a legitimate site.

Finally, follow the golden rule.  Never, ever, click the links within the text of a suspicious e-mail, and always delete the e-mail immediately. Once you have deleted the e-mail, empty the trash box in your e-mail accounts as well.

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martin wanjohi
martin wanjohi

Is a cloud computing and hosting consultant with 5 years of experience in the field of IT. Martin has also worked as a Data analyst in various companies owing to his success in being willing and able to learn something new under new mentors. His hobbies include reading, cycling, hiking, and spending time with his wife and kid. Martin is also a website developer with more than 10 years of experience and always strive to grow and know more.

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