Learning to Recognize Phishing Scams as They Are Getting More Sophisticated

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  • 3 years ago
  • Posted: February 13, 2019 at 8:36 am

Securing your networks can be done in multiple ways, and it’s essential to cover all your bases. This is true no matter how large your company is, and how you interact with your customers. One data breach is all it takes to ruin your whole business. And if you’re not careful, it might be right around the corner.

Many leaders fail to recognize the importance of the human element in all this. Not all attacks involve complicated technological feats and exploiting security holes. Sometimes, it’s about pushing the right person and forcing them to be careless. You need to be on the lookout for phishing attacks, and you need to train your employees to recognize them as well.

Want to know how to recognize phishing scams in your  African business?  Read on.

Browse Securely using a VPN South Africa

Always use tools to encrypt your connection and keep it safe. A VPN is something everyone should look into these days. It can not only provide you with a layer of encryption but also mask your country of origin, too. It doesn’t matter if you need a VPN South Africa or a VPN that will make you appear like you’re from another country, there’s always something available on the internet.

Only purchase subscriptions from reliable providers though. Do enough research before committing to any long-term deals to ensure that the VPN will serve your needs. When in doubt, consult someone with more experience.

Do a Quick Search

The simplest thing you can do if you suspect a message might not be genuine is to use an online search engine. Attackers often use common templates that don’t vary too much for their scams. There’s a chance you’ll find reports of similar messages if it’s a scam. Keep in mind that if you don’t, that’s not a guarantee that your message is legitimate. This is one step you should take in the verification process.

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Look up the sender’s email as well. If the message wasn’t sent via e-mail, look up the corresponding contact point – such as the WhatsApp number. If the source is legitimate, you should get many results pointing to the company’s website. E-mail addresses can be spoofed, so make sure to check the headers as well.

Verify the Message’s Origin with the Company

You can also contact the company yourself to verify that the message is legitimate. Look them up on your favorite search engine and call them at the numbers that come up. Don’t reveal anything specific about the message when you get in touch with a support representative. Explain what it’s about and ask if it’s possible that it’s from them.

Hackers might often try to get you to contact them back via the same method they’ve used to get in touch with you. You should not reply to the original message because you have no guarantee who’s on the other end. As mentioned above, hackers even have access to tools that can allow them to mask their email address, so don’t trust what you see.

Again, remember to use a VPN South Africa when you do this so that you can keep your own identity hidden, and achieve an extra level of encryption.

Don’t Follow Any Links

The same rules should be applied to any links you find in the message. A common scam is to send you a scary email explaining that there’s been an issue with your account. The message asks you to follow a certain link to verify your credentials. It often leads to a page that looks exactly like the original website of your bank but is controlled by hackers. You log in, and before you know it, your entire account has been compromised.

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That’s why you should always enter any links yourself. This is even more valid for things like login pages and other sensitive areas of websites. Your e-mail client may even prevent you from following links from messages, and it does that for a good reason.

Use Your Browser’s Built-in Tools

Regarding the above, you should also remember to use your browser to its full extent. Every modern browser has some built-in tools that can help you verify the legitimacy of the websites you’re visiting. Be on the lookout for a green badge on the left side of the address bar. That’s an indication that the site’s owner has been verified. You can click on the badge to get additional information.

Yellow or red indicates that you should be wary. In fact, you may not even be allowed to proceed if the badge is red. Most modern browsers are built to protect you in case you’ve failed to notice the difference.

Some VPN providers in South Africa also have built-in browser tools which can help to add that extra layer of security. It is a very good idea to install one of these and have it permanently active while responding to emails, visiting links you are unsure of, and when performing general business online.  Hackers don’t just come from South Africa; they’re worldwide, and you don’t want to risk running afoul of a sophisticated scam.

Phishing is becoming a very common problem in today’s world. But it’s up to us to prevent it from spreading further. There are various ways to ensure that you don’t fall for this kind of trap. Stay informed, use the right tools, and use a lot of common sense in your online communications.

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