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How to avoid phishing attacks at work

Phishing attacks have been around for a long time, first recorded in the 1990s, hackers would pose as Internet service provider employees and request a user’s billing information through instant messaging. Now phishing attacks are primarily through email and attempt to trick users into handing over all kinds of personal information. There are many different methods of identifying a phishing attempt, and we hope to help you avoid these at work.

One of the primary ways to identify phishing attempt is through a deceptive URL. Most fishing tips depend on the user to click a link in the email that will take them to a website that then steals their information. These emails will attempt to hide the URL behind content in the message which makes it easier for someone to take advantage of an unsuspecting victim. You read the message and then possibly click through to the website given the sales or attractive language in the email. In order to avoid this one of the main things to consider as a warning sign is any URL that doesn't exactly replicate the URL of the organization the email represents. The way to tell what URL this is, is to simply hover your cursor over the link. The target URL or destination URL will appear. If this destination URL is not the domain you expected to be do not click on the link. An example of this would be an email from PayPal that wants you to go to a URL that isn't the exact PayPal URL. An example of this would be a link to Do not click and avoid these kinds of emails at all costs. It reduces your risk further to delete the email from the preview pane without fully opening message.

Another way to avoid becoming a victim of phishing is to install an anti-phishing toolbar on your Internet browser. Most popular Internet browsers can be customized with anti-phishing toolbars. These two words run consistently quick checks on sites that you're visiting and compare them to lists of known if you StumbleUpon a malicious website the toolbar will alert you. This provides one more layer of protection against scams and most of these are free.

Keep your browsers and other software up to date. Security patches are released regularly for popular browsers and programs. These security patches are released in response to loopholes that are found by malicious users and hackers. In order to stay up-to-date and as secure as possible, downloading and installing these updates in a timely manner is recommended.

Always be wary of pop-ups. Pop-up windows are often not what they seem and in many cases are phishing attempts. Many browsers allow you to block pop-ups and then access them on a case-by-case basis. This is recommended as many legitimate websites use pop-ups for particular functionalities, but it is a much better idea to address these one by one then opening the floodgates for pop-ups on your computers. If one pop-up managed to slip through the cracks of your pop-up blocker, don't click on okay or cancel button. These buttons often lead to the destination the hacker would like you to go to. Instead click the small X or on a Mac the red button in the top corner of the window.

Use antivirus software. There are many reasons to use antivirus software and special signatures that are included with these programs guard against all known viruses and malware and any known workarounds and loopholes. Just like other software ensure that all antivirus software is cut up to date with the most recent patches. New definitions and threats are added all the time and hackers are always updating their methods, so these updates allow your computer to be protected against the most recent threats. Anti-spyware and firewall settings should be used within your antivirus software to prevent attacks as well.

In most cases phishing attacks will give clues enhance to show them as different than a normal email or Internet medication. If something seems off or wrong about an email pop-up or online ad do not click it. With a managed service provider any perceived threats can be run through the provider to ensure that the network and each machine stays secure. Managed services providers also regularly monitor networks for threats and address issues proactively. Having a managed services provider ensure that all software and antivirus programs are up-to-date will keep threats at bay so that you can continue business as usual.

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