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  • Writer's pictureStan Patey

Guarding Your Digital World: How to Stay Safe from Phishing Attacks

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

You probably have secret passwords that you use to access your email, bank, Amazon account, and other online resources. Phishing is when a cyberattacker tries to trick you into giving them those passwords or other important information by masquerading as someone you trust. Sometimes, people who are up to no good try to trick you into giving them your personal information, like your passwords, credit card numbers, or even your full name.

Cybercriminal in black hood reaching out of the laptop's screen toward keyboard

They do this by pretending to be someone you trust, like a friend, a colleague, or a company you know. Hackers send you messages that look real but aren't from the advertised sender. These scam messages might ask you to click on links or share your secret information.


Phishing is like when a fisherman uses an artificial lure to trick fish into biting the hook. In the same way, these phishers use forged email addresses in emails that look urgent and official to try and catch your personal information.


It's essential to be very careful online. Slow down! Don't click on suspicious links or give out your private details to anyone unless you're sure it's safe. No one needs your email credentials. Double-check who's sending you messages, and if you're not sure, ask your trusted IT helpdesk for assistance. Don't hesitate to call the sender to verify using a number from your contacts.

 

Cybersecurity is essential to protect your personal information and devices from online threats. Here are some of the best cybersecurity protections you can use:


1. Strong, Unique Passwords: Use strong and unique passwords for all your online accounts. Avoid easily guessable information like birthdays or common words. Consider using a password manager to help you securely create and store complex passwords.


2. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable MFA whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to provide more than just a password, such as a temporary code sent to your phone or an authenticator app to access your accounts.


3. Regular Software Updates: Keep your operating system, software, and apps up to date. Software updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.


4. Firewalls: Use a firewall, which acts as a barrier between your device and potential threats from the internet.


5. Endpoint Detection & Response, Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software: Install reputable EDR, antivirus, and anti-malware software on your devices. These programs can help detect and remove malicious software, viruses, and activity.


6. Safe Browsing Habits: Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading files from unknown sources. Avoid suspicious websites (is it really Adobe.com?) and emails, and don't download attachments or click on links from senders you don't recognize.


7. Secure Wi-Fi: Use a strong, unique password for your Wi-Fi network and enable encryption (WPA3 is the latest standard). Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive activities if possible. If you must use public Wi-Fi, make sure it's really the official airport network.


8. Data Encryption: Use encryption tools or services, especially for sensitive data. This ensures that even if someone gains access to your files, they can't read them without the encryption key.


9. Regular Backups: Back up your data regularly to an external device or a secure cloud service. In case of a cyberattack, you can restore your important files.


10. Awareness and Education: Stay informed about common online threats and phishing scams. Educate yourself about safe online practices, and teach them to your family members and friends.


11. Privacy Settings: Adjust the privacy settings on your social media accounts and other online platforms to limit the information you share with the public.


12. Secure Your Mobile Devices: Apply the same security practices to your smartphones and tablets. Use screen locks, enable encryption, and be cautious when downloading apps.


13. Network Security: If you have a home network, change the default login credentials for your router, and consider using a strong, unique password. Regularly check for firmware updates for your router.


14. Employee Training (for Businesses): If you're in a business or organization, provide cybersecurity training to employees to prevent data breaches and other security incidents.


15. Incident Response Plan: Have a plan in place for what to do if you suspect a security breach. Knowing how to respond can minimize damage and help you recover more quickly.


Remember that cybersecurity is an ongoing effort. New threats emerge regularly, so staying vigilant and updating your defenses is crucial to maintaining your online safety.


Don't Panic - Take your time - If it seems a little off, don't click it.


Contact Slingshot to learn how to protect yourself from suspicious emails or phone calls.

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