Phishing — Don’t Be Phooled

Phishing — pronounced like Grandpa’s favorite pastime — is not as cute as my friend here.

Phishing is the practice by scammers to get access to your information or your computer, usually using email. Phishing scams are varied, cheap, and powerful: 80% of reported security incidents are caused by phishing.

Every. Email. Is. Potential. Phishing.

Every single one.

It doesn’t matter if it’s from your boss, your spouse, your mom, the government, an online shopping website, or your bank. Any email address can be — and likely has been at some point — hacked. Any email address can be spoofed. Any email signature can be phony.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop using email. It means that, just like knowing the signs of counterfeit money or a crooked used-car salesman, everyone should be able to read the signs of a phishing email.

How to check for phishing emails

They ask for something

Hover over ALL THE LINKS

If the email doesn’t have your name

There’s something wrong with the sender’s email address

Typos

Free email services

Why it there an attachment?

If I think an email is phishing, what should I do then?

Don’t click anything.

If there’s something in question that you feel like you want to take a second look at, open a new tab (Ctrl+t is the keyboard shortcut for a new tab) and manually type in the website URL in question. If you have to search for it, that’s fine too. But don’t trust the link on the page.

Call ’em up.

And if the email in question is from her, call your grandma anyways.

Report it

Phishing is a big deal, and will probably remain a big deal until scam artists go away. Which will be never. As we get better at figuring out how to discover scams, the scammers will get better at tricking us. Keep a wary eye out, and always err on the side of caution.

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