How Phishing Works

These days, you can never be too careful when it comes to email senders and sources of links. Today’s Tech Tip will give you a quick overview over the simple tricks hackers use to “phish” for your personal information and what you can do to avoid becoming a victim.

At this point, most of us have most likely received at least one phishing email in their inbox – if you haven’t: you have beaten the unlikely odds! Usually, a phishing attempt comes in the shape and form of an email that looks like it was sent from a trusted source, such as your bank or a coworker, and it is asking for personal information.

Most of the time, those requests express some sort of urgency, trying to rush you into giving away valuable information. On top of that, those messages might also threaten you with some kind of punishment if you fail to comply.

What makes those messages look legitimate are the graphics used within them. Most of the time, the hackers behind the phishing attempt are mimicking the logos, colors, and writing styles of the real companies, such as your bank or favorite store.

You might also be prompted to click on a link within that message, which is typically a fake redirect to another fake location within the world wide web, that has been specifically designed to make you want to give up your personal information.

What to do when you suspect one of your emails to be a phishing attempt?

  1. Don’t click anything until you have confirmed it is a legitimate email.
  2. Take a good look at the sender’s address or spelling mistakes within the body of the email. If the address looks weird and there are lots of misspellings, you might have a phishing email in front of you.
  3. Reach out to the company that has been impersonated.
  4. Make sure to spread awareness within your organization, your family and friends, and anywhere else you can think of – the more people know of the attempt, the fewer people will actually fall for it!

(The initial article was written by Lauren Pritchett at Citrix ShareFile.)