Lifestyle

Don’t go phishing! Protecting your personal info from scammers

Careful not to get baited

As more grow accustomed to working from home, one particular danger continues to lurk within the shadows.

The New Straits Times reported that Malaysia has experienced an avalanche of cyberattacks, most commonly in the form of phishing since the start of the pandemic.

What is phishing?

Phishing, which rhymes with ‘fishing’, is less welcoming than it suggests.

Simply put, it’s a tactic in which scammers masquerade as a reputable entity or person to ‘fish’ for valuable information.

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The most common form of phishing are emails, where unsuspecting victims are duped into revealing sensitive information such as their name, address, and credit card number.

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With its ability to continuously evolve and diversify, phishing remains a grave threat to all Internet users.

Phishing has been around for over 25 years and remains an effective cyberattack technique.”

Sophos’ principal research scientist, Chester Wisniewski

Looks phishy?

Like most villains, cybercriminals will go to great lengths in extracting precious information from victims.

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They often disguise as reputable companies and forge its logo, typeface and even signature to make the email appear legitimate.

Email Phishing Example (Image via: FTC)

Cybercriminals are also experts of exploiting human emotions in getting what they want out of victims in an inconspicuous manner.

For example, an email may warn the victim of an account’s expiration or a current lawsuit filed against them in order to invoke fear and spring him/her in to action.

How to prevent phishing

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Fortunately, there are a few telltale signs of an email attempting to steal personal info:

  • Check the website’s URL. The email may include misspelled (typosquatting) or suspicious URLS
  • Watch out for URL redirects, where you’re subtly sent to a different website with an identical design
  • Enormous spelling and grammatical errors, enough to send your inner Grammar Nazi screaming

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  • Pay attention to how the emails address you. Generic greetings such as “Dear XXX” should raise red flags
  • If the message invokes fear or urgency, beware!

Additionally, you can take this phishing awareness quiz to see how well equipped you are!

With the Internet and social media deeply integrated into our daily lives, phishing techniques have become more menacing than before.

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Don’t get baited and stay safe on the Internet!


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Cover via: Canva

Proofreader: Sarah Yeoh

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