How can you protect yourself against phishing?

Email is one of the most popular ways people stay in touch, for both at work and at home. One report found that there were 205 billion emails sent every day in 2015 – and this is expected to rise to 246 billion by 2019.

Much of our day-to-day business is conducted online now – take banking for instance. Many banks produce electronic statements which are stored in our online accounts; they send us a monthly email to remind us to check our records online. We simply click through the supplied link and log into our online account.

Because you can do so much through online banking, your user name and password are highly valued by hackers. Armed with those details, they can log into your account and make digital cash transfers to steal all your money.

Be careful with your emails

Because you can do so much through online banking, your user name and password are highly valued by hackers. Armed with those details, they can log into your account and make digital cash transfers to steal all your money.

To help steal your logon details, hackers send emails that look almost identical to the ones sent by your bank – a scam known as phishing. Clicking through the links in these fake emails will take you to a site that looks just like your bank’s. But when you try to logon, instead of seeing your account details you will receive an error message. Meanwhile, the cybercriminal has already captured your username and password, allowing them to get to work emptying your bank account immediately.

So how can you protect yourself against phishing?

1. Check what your bank says about their emails

Your bank will almost certainly have a page on their website about helping you to identify fake emails. This example from Lloyds Bank shows the things you need to look out for, including:

  • Incorrect sender’s email address.
  • A generic greeting (your name is not used).
  • The email includes a direct link – emails from Lloyds do not.
  • The email makes threats about suspending your account, or suspicious activity.

Visit your bank’s website and check the help section for details about how to tell if an email is genuine or not. By learning what to expect, you will be better able to spot phishing emails when they arrive in your inbox.

2. Never click links in emails from your bank

To avoid being duped into accessing a fake website, never click the links in any email claiming to be from your bank. Instead, type the address into your browser bar direct – that way you will always land on the official website.

3. Install security software

Modern antimalware software is very good at detecting phishing attemps automatically, immediately alerting you to anything that looks suspicious. This automated warning lets you know immediately that you may be at risk of becoming a phishing victim.

Protecting against phishing scams is a combination of education, common sense, and technology. To help better protect yourself now, please download a free trial of Panda Security and let our security tools start identifying and blocking scams and malware now.