Modern-day, technological advances have granted us the capacity to communicate at a near-pristine level. Using our smart phones or tablet computers, we can send messages and emails to one another at whim. However, along with the positives of this progression, there are also the unfortunate negatives as well.
Phishing emails is a fraudulent effort to gain access into your digital personal information. The aims of these phishing emails vary, and can range from getting unauthorized access to your passwords, to even your credit card information.
To avoid these messages in the future, follow these eight best practices for how to stop phishing emails:
1. Don’t click on suspicious emails
This may be an obvious solution, but if your gut is telling you not to follow through on a link in an email, don’t. This is so you don’t give online thieves any pertinent information until you verify that the email itself is real and genuine. Authentic email sources, such as Gmail, will never ask for personal information, so always remain vigilant of what you are looking at.
2. Look at the email source
Even though phishing emails may appear to be genuine, there are many links sent over email that are anything but authentic. Clicking on these links can lead you to an extremely shady site at best, or load your computer with malware at worst. If the email and corresponding message seem to be sketchy, it most likely is.
To validate a source, use your cursor to hover over a link provided in the email. If the email and sender name do not match, it may be a fraudulent attempt to steal your information. Digital criminals are becoming more thorough with their toolkit, so be wary of any sketchy sources.
3. Check your email spam filter
Should multiple suspicious messages find their way into your inbox, there are numerous ways to stop phishing emails. The first thing you should do is check the status on your spam filter on your email’s service settings. Most of the time, spam filters are great as a preventative measure, but the odd phishing email may still find its way through.
Setting up specific rules in your email provider’s spam filter will also greatly assist in your situation. For example, there are settings that can be altered that can automatically mark specific emails as spam or junk. These will then get put in your trash bin, freeing your inbox of any incoming threat. If you are in a business organization, ask the IT support to set up a strict spam filter for maximum security.
4. Use anti-phishing software
As one of the best programs to invest in, anti-phishing software can significantly improve protection and stop phishing emails. If your email provider doesn’t already reduce phishing attempts, then it may be time to install this onto your computer. Email services with an anti-phishing spam filter work pretty well on their own, but you are usually better safe than sorry.
Anti-phishing software is wide-reaching and thoroughly extensive, due to its enterprise-level of spam filtering. With these capabilities, it is unlikely that you will see multiple phishing emails again in the future!
5. Implement firewalls
Generally speaking, firewalls act as a barrier between you and potential malware and spam threats. Keeping these protective barriers up-to-date can not only protect you, but ward off any incoming emails that appear to be malicious. Consider using a network firewall, coupled with your desktop firewall, in order to increase your defenses at every possible level.
6. Update your browser
Cybercriminals often use outdated browsers as a means of exploitation, when sending phishing emails. To prevent them from causing further damage, always make sure your browsers are up-to-date, which will stop phishing emails to an extent. Online criminals are tenacious in their attempts to gain access into your data. They will exploit loopholes in your browser, if you end up following through on a shady email link.
7. Regularly check your email accounts
Sometimes, we may just leave old accounts to wither out when they no longer are relevant to our lives. If this is the case, it could become a liability in one form or another. If a cybercriminal gains access into your information through phishing, they could be using your old accounts for nefarious purposes.
This is why it is so critical to conduct a check-up on all of your accounts every so often. You never know who may potentially be lurking around, so habitually change your passwords and double check your financial statements. Or simply delete accounts if they are no longer needed to stop the phishing emails altogether.
8. Security training
If you are still unsure about how to go about handling potential email phishing attempts, consider taking additional training. IT administrators regularly go through various exercises and protocols to inform both themselves and fellow colleagues about phishing. It never hurts to get too informed!
Although there is no, singular way of handling email phishing, there are ways to prevent them. Always double check a source sent in an email. If it’s too good to be true, as is the case with email phishing attempts, it usually is.