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6 Common Phishing Attacks and How to Protect Against Them

With the internet becoming the pillar of worldwide data transfer, it’s natural to see the rise of security mechanisms to protect the flow of information. Emails are the main drive behind the never-ending stream of data. This is why laws and regulations go hand in hand with new and improved security measures. Everyone on the internet can suddenly become a target. Phishing attacks are genuine, and they affect people daily.

But what is phishing? Why does it represent such a big menace to online communications? According to Verizon and their Data Breach Investigation Report, back in 2021, nearly 36% of all online attacks were phishing attempts. The figure is concerning, especially since in 2020, the same report measured the attacks at 22%. As the world is slowly going back to normal after the pandemic, digital fraudsters show no sign of slowing down.

In the following lines, we’re learning what is phishing email, the most popular types of phishing, and how to protect against a phishing attack.

What is Phishing?

A phishing attack is a social engineering scheme designed to persuade you into taking action to provide third-party access to sensitive information. Malicious actors use many different techniques to get what they need from you. They’ve mastered these forms of deception to make themselves sound rational, authoritative, and knowledgeable in matters that make you drop your guard and reveal delicate information.

Phishing attacks take many shapes, but they commonly reach victims by email. These messages spoof the identity of someone you trust. They can appeal to your sense of urgency by presenting you with a delicate situation that needs you to take action to be solved. Phishing attacks can also get to you in the form of malicious links embedded in your messages or files to plant malware in your system. You want to learn how to protect against phishing if you run a business.

What Types of Phishing Scams Exist?

Phishing attacks run rampant more than ever. The best protection against phishing is knowledge. To prevent any attack on your company, you need to learn everything about phishing scams. There are different types of phishing, and we will discuss some of the most common methods used by cyber attackers. Keep an eye on this analysis since we’ll provide some insight to protect yourself from harm.

How do I Spot a Phishing Scam?

If you wish to learn how to protect against phishing email, researching how to spot certain aspects of your messages is the best way to go. The emails you usually get from clients, business partners, and vendors follow a single structure. Once you get familiar with it, it’s easier to spot something unusual. The first red flag, of course, is messages asking for money. If any of your usual receipts suddenly ask for a transfer is best to tread lightly.

Make sure to check the sender’s domain email. You can notice a slight change that can let you know it’s a scam (the letter “o” switched for a “0,” for example). You can also take a good look at the message itself. If you notice grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or unusual structures on the message, something’s not right—even generic lines of greetings that should be a red flag.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not tech-savvy, you can do a lot more to spot a phishing scam. Try to avoid the following:

What to do Once I’ve Identified a Phishing Email?

The best protection against phishing is pausing all your actions online. Don’t overreact to any pressure from a message. It’s best to analyze the situation to determine if you’re dealing with a legitimate scam. Take the time to read the email or message that looks suspicious. Read the content and assess its legitimacy. Check for any inconsistencies. If you’re being contacted by a trusted service such as PayPal or your bank, make sure the email is directed at you.

As you learn how to protect against phishing, the most solid action you can take is simply to ignore these messages. If the email is being sent from a trusted sender, the best you can do is contact the person asking for information in the message. They will let you know if their request is legit. Most ISP already do this job for you with their filters sending thousands of these messages to your spam box or blocking them altogether.

What Should I Do to Avoid Being a Victim of Phishing?

As a business owner, there’s a lot you can do to secure the best protection against phishing. You have a duty to your customers and your employees to keep communications safe and secure. You can make good on this premise by setting up your DMARC policies. You probably don’t even know if you have DMARC in place. That’s fine; you can use this free DMARC checker from the good folks working at EasyDMARC to learn more about your business website.

DMARC is the best protocol to authenticate your email address and your domain. This tool verifies your identity online and lets everyone know you’re a trusted sender while also allowing you to see how well your email campaigns are doing. EasyDMARC can help you get up to speed and make you a verified sender in no time, so you won’t have to deal with phishing attacks anymore. Since not many people are familiar with DMARC, we can let you on with some info on the matter.

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