The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) strives for a safer, stronger Internet for all Americans by responding to major incidents, analyzing threats, and exchanging critical cyber security information with trusted global partners. The organization’s Security Tip named “Avoiding Phishing Attacks” explains how to avoid being a victim and what to do if you become a victim.
Imagine the damage someone could do if they knew your Facebook password. Now imagine how much more harmful it could be if they had your banking information. Of course, you would never give over this information to a stranger, but what if they sent you an email pretending they were your bank. How would you know not to trust them then?
Be careful when asked to provide personal details because they could be phishing attempts aimed at stealing your sensitive account information. Did you know that 30% of all phishing emails that get sent are opened? Don’t underestimate the threat.
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To read the original US-CERT Security Tip – ST04-014, click here or continue below.
What is a phishing attack?
Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to solicit personal information by posing as a trustworthy organization. For example, an attacker may send email seemingly from a reputable credit card company or financial institution that requests account information, often suggesting that there is a problem. When users respond with the requested information, attackers can use it to gain access to the accounts.
Phishing attacks may also appear to come from other types of organizations, such as charities. Attackers often take advantage of current events and certain times of the year, such as natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina, Indonesian tsunami,) epidemics and health scares (e.g., H1N1,) economic concerns (e.g., IRS scams,) major political elections, and holidays.
How do you avoid being a victim?
What do you do if you think you are a victim?