Phishing attacks are something that no one wants to become a victim of. Nevertheless, numerous malicious sources will keep using the different types of phishing attacks to trap users to gain their personal and financial information and make huge profits by selling or misusing the information.

Below, we have compiled a list of 10 tips that you should follow to keep yourself safe from phishing scams.

1. Know how phishing works – Without having the basic idea of how a phishing attack works, it is easy to fall prey to one. Read up on the topic from some of the most trusted sources on the internet to understand how these attacks are carried out. For working professionals, it is recommended to attend a course on security awareness training.

2. Never click suspicious links – Links appearing in random messages and emails from unknown sources can be attempts to gain access to your secure information. If you think that the link is of use, you should try to access it from the actual source website rather than clicking on the one received in the email or on the message.

3. Verify the security of the website – Before you submit any information on a website, look for “HTTPS” at the beginning of the website URL and an icon resembling a closed lock just before the website URL. A site without a security certificate should not be accessed. Also, if you receive a message that states the website possibly contains malicious content, do not proceed to open the website.

4. Implement an anti-phishing toolbar – Anti-phishing toolbars can be added to most modern and popular internet browsers. These toolbars can perform quick scans of the websites being visited by you and compare them to a database of known phishing websites. If the website being visited by you is a phishing website, the toolbar will provide an alert to you.

5. Update your internet browser regularly – Internet browsers keep receiving regular security patches and updates. These are developed by the browsers’ technical teams as a response to loopholes found in the security system that can be leveraged by cybercriminals and hackers to exploit you.

6. Regularly check your online accounts – If there are websites that you don’t frequently visit, there is a chance that your account on that website is in use by someone else. Keep changing your account passwords every few months, and check your bank and credit card statements every month to prevent phishing scams from happening.

7. Use firewall software – High-quality firewall software or hardware is a secure buffer between the internet and your system to safeguard it from malicious actors. For maximum security, both should be used together.

8. Avoid pop-ups – Pop-up notifications look like genuine components of a website but can be phishing attempts in disguise. Most popular web browsers have an in-built functionality that allows users to block pop-ups on websites.

9. Never share personal information – In most cases, it is unwise to share personal or financial information on websites. If the information has to be disclosed to a company or an organization, ensure that the form used to capture the information is highly secure.

10. Implement an antivirus software – Antivirus software has many benefits which also include protection from hacking attempts. This software has protection from know technology loopholes and workarounds. The most important features of antivirus software that keep you safe from phishing attacks are the firewall and anti-spyware settings.

While each of the above measures is important in preventing phishing attacks from happening, the best defense can be made by using a combination of the above techniques. Awareness about phishing can be a very potent tool in the fight against phishing attacks.

About Ng Wei Khang

Ng Wei Khang, CEO at a Singapore based IT consultancy company, APIXEL IT Support, has been operational for over 8 years from now. Apixel provides fixed price IT Support Services with unlimited packages that includes small business server setup, Cloud Solution Configuration, Network management and Data security & Theft prevention. The company also provides expert IT consultancy to SMEs in Singapore.

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