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Phishing Attacks Double; Stopping Phishing Attacks in Their Tracks

Phishing is a cyber-attack that circumvents security that is put into place by top companies and governments as it targets users, not the actual companies or institutions themselves. Long-term users of PC and desktops have become more accustomed to phishing attacks and have learned how to avoid them, but now hackers have targeted mobile phones, as they have a large variety of young and old that are not accustomed to the modern technological landscape. A report from IBM in 2011 stated that mobile users are three times as likely to experience a successful phishing attack and submit valuable log-in information to hackers.

To answer the question on how to prevent phishing for both mobile and PC users, one must first understand what exactly phishing is. To be exact, phishing is known as a social engineering technique that is focused on “faking” important emails and messages in order to get a user to submit personal information on a fake website, download a keylogger (Software that records key presses) or other malware. A typical phishing attack will have an email that is almost a complete replica of a normal one from a company and/or individual, but the email address and URLs in the message will typically be different and/or intentionally misspelled by one or two letters. The year of 2015 has seen phishing reports double from 2014’s 704,178, reaching 1,413,978 unique reports of phishing on the internet for that year.

Now that the basic idea of phishing and the damage it has caused have been exclaimed, prevention can be discussed in order to personally avoid attacks like these on both mobile devices and PCs. The first and greatest step to take in avoiding any and all would-be attacks is to remained informed about current techniques and scams being utilized; By doing this, the example of a phishing attack and how they currently look will be fresh in your mind, making spotting them and completely avoiding them in the first place a lot easier. It is also recommended for businesses to utilize constant security awareness training along with simulated attacks, so employees can know what to expect when an attack arrives in an email or instant message. Another technique that will squash almost every phishing attack is the thorough checking of any link sent through email, specifically looking for swapped letters and/or a different abbreviation at the end of the link then typical (For Example wellsfargo.xyz or wellsfrago.com instead of wellsfargo.com). In order to avoid viruses and malware from a phishing attack don’t download any attachments from suspicious sources in order to prevent the malware from reaching your computer altogether.

In some cases, these plans can still fail, and a phishing attack could get through by chance. In these situations, it is recommended to have anti-phishing extensions and anti-virus software that can stop attacks moments before they happen. If these tips are kept in mind with adequate protection as a safe guard, any and all phishing attacks can be stopped in their tracks.