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Who Is Phishing For Your Information?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

As an employee of a tech firm, and someone who pays attention to the messages that come through my inbox, I was immediately suspicious of an email I recently received, despite the fact that it looked completely legit. The email was from "Delta" indicating that my order was complete and my credit card had been successfully processed. Many people would click on the link to get the details of the order, however, I did NOT click the link. I hadn't ordered any airline tickets recently so I immediately checked to see whether my credit card had been compromised. I Googled the flight number only to find that it wasn't a valid number. The sneaky part was that the email looked very similar to one that could actually be from Delta.

Scammers are getting more sophisticated every day. Target's recent data breach was one of the biggest cyber retail attacks in history. But the hits didn't stop there. Large scale hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton had data compromised as well as Nieman Marcus and various others who still remain unnamed. These high level scams have led hackers to "phish" in many new ways.

Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to a phishing attack:

Check your sources: Your bank will never ask you to confirm your passwords or private information via email. Whenever in doubt, call them directly to confirm.

Enhance your computer's security: Common sense is just as important as keeping your computer protected with a good antivirus and spam blocker. This is an area that IT Resource can help in, particularly on the business side of things.

Look for secure websites: Secure websites begin with "https" as opposed to "http".

Look for something that seems off: Phishing emails typically look like they are coming from a legitimate business, but there is typically something off about them. Grammar and spelling may be incorrect, as these emails are often poorly translated from a different language, and they usually portray a sense of urgency.

The Bottom Line

Phishing attacks are getting more sophisticated and spam filters can't catch everything. You must be a smart consumer - think about what you are opening and who it is from. Check your bank statements regularly to verify that there are no unfamiliar charges. When in doubt, you can simply hit delete.

We've been working with a growing number of companies recently who have had experiences with a virus. By simply clicking on a suspicious link in their email they allowed the virus to enter their system, which resulted in their entire network being compromised. If you have any questions on a potential phishing scam within your organization or what to do if your network has been compromised, call our help desk at 616.837.6930. And remember, when in doubt, always err on the side of caution. You never know what virus is waiting to weave its way into your system.

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