Brambleton Computer

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Avoid Being a Victim of Email Phishing

Email Phishing Attack

Email has long been an essential tool for fast, effective communication. Yet, while it is easy to use and offers many benefits, email also comes with a persistent threat: Email Phishing. Phishing attacks have grown significantly in recent years, creating considerable risks to individuals and organizations.

What is Email Phishing?

Email phishing is a form of cyberattack where criminals impersonate businesses and organizations to trick recipients into sharing sensitive information. The information they seek includes usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and/or other identification details.

Phishing emails appear to come from highly reputable sources like banks, nonprofits, social media platforms, or trusted companies. Their purpose is to entice unsuspecting individuals to click on malicious links or download invasive attachments so they can gain computer access.

The Dangers of Email Phishing

Becoming a victim of email phishing can have far-reaching impact. Following are some of the dangers associated with phishing attacks.

Identity Theft: Phishing attacks can lead to identity theft, where cybercriminals use stolen information to impersonate victims, access their financial accounts, or commit fraud.

Financial Loss: By conning individuals into disclosing bank account numbers or credit card details, phishing scams can result in significant financial losses through unauthorized transactions or fraudulent purchases.

Data Breaches: Phishing attacks targeting businesses can lead to data breaches, compromising sensitive corporate information, customer data, intellectual property, and an organization’s reputation.

Malware Infections: Clicking on malicious links or downloading infected attachments in phishing emails can introduce malware onto devices, compromising device security and functionality. With malware installed, cybercriminals can access all types of information, including banking and credit card information.

Reputation Damage: Organizations that fall victim to phishing attacks may suffer reputational damage, eroding customer trust and confidence in its ability to safeguard personal information.

Defending Against Email Phishing

There are proactive measures individuals and organizations can take to defend against phishing, including the following.

Educate Yourself: Stay informed about different phishing techniques and warning signs. Be wary of unsolicited emails and requests for your personal information.

Verify Sender Identity: Look carefully at the sender’s email domain to ensure it is legitimate. Even slight misspellings or variations of an organization’s name in the email address will give cause for concern.

Enable Spam Filters: Use spam filters to automatically detect and filter out potential phishing emails from your inbox. The filters will not catch all scam emails, but they can help significantly in keeping your inbox clean with safe, legitimate emails.

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable MFA wherever possible to add an extra layer of security to your accounts, making it harder for thieves to gain unauthorized access.

Regularly Update Security Software: Keep your antivirus, anti-malware, and firewall software up-to-date to protect against new or established threats that find their way to your computer.

Report Suspected Phishing Attempts: If you receive a phishing email, report it to your email provider or the appropriate authorities to help prevent others from falling victim to the same scam. Delete all questionable or potentially dangerous emails.

Act Quickly if You Click: If you accidentally click on a phishing link, consider these actions:

  • Quickly close all tabs, browsers and applications.
  • Run your anti-virus and anti-malware software.
  • Change passwords on potentially vulnerable accounts right away.
  • Shut down your computer for the interim.
  • Contact credit card providers to change your account numbers
  • Inform your financial institutions and internet provider.
  • Contact the three credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – and put a security freeze on your account.
  • Contact a computer tech expert for additional guidance.

Need Computer Help?

If you have questions or need help, please call us at 540-682-2141 or come by our Brambleton Computer store at 3634 Brambleton Avenue in Roanoke.