It is quite easy to be pulled in by the claims of phishing emails, they are “The fraudulent practice of sending emails claiming to be from reputable companies, in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information such as credit card numbers and passwords.”
According to statistics, the UK was the world’s most phished country in 2012 and both consumers and businesses lost an estimated £27 billion through cybercrime, £600m of this being taken via masses of these attacks.
The good news is that statistics from 2013 indicate a significant drop in global volumes of phishing, indicating that internet users are switching on and becoming more cyber savvy, and that new email authentication standards have made it increasingly difficult for spammers to pose as trusted brands.
Although mass phishing is down, spear phishing is on the rise. Spear phishing is focusing on the individual and particular groups of people who have access to important information. Such targets are journalists, tech leaders and SMEs working on important projects.
As spear phishing is so much more selective and thrives on familiarity with victims, it is causing individuals to be more receptive and trusting, wherein the problem lies.
To avoid spear phishing you should take measures such as the following to protect your information:
- Keep the amount of information about yourself online to a minimum, for example your name, friend’s names, email addresses or events you have attended.
- Be wary of emails requesting passwords, as legitimate businesses will never email you to obtain this information.
- You should always make sure to install the most recent updates to avoid the risks of any hackers sneaking through security holes in your system.