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My dad used to say, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to avoid phishing scams, keep his technology systems a little safer forever,” or something like that…

Old sayings aside, phishing is a technique widely used by hackers to obtain personal information from general users (you). So how do you avoid it?

Thankfully, our email providers screen a lot of the least sophisticated attacks for us, but you are still likely to receive emails from more dangerous hackers. What do you do if you get an email that you aren’t quite sure about? EVAN is here to help!

The problem?

Phishing tends to be successful due to the way hackers make their emails look legitimate (like someone you know or a business you use) and craft messages you are inclined to trust. Their whole goal is to get you to click a bad link disguised as something friendly, helpful, or necessary. This act, known as spoofing, can be quite convincing.

The solution? Protect yourself using these tips:

  • Review the header field of your email (examples below):
    • The name of the sender can be altered, so you’ll need to see if the sender’s email address looks like it came from a legitimate source (e.g., jake@statefarm.com rather than jake@HackingYou.com)
    • Make sure your email address was the target. If the “To” field is blank, the same message was likely sent to thousands of others.
  • Hover your mouse over links. When doing so, you will be able to see the true destination before clicking. If you are ever unsure, type the address into your browser manually.
  • Report the offenders. Right clicking a message in Outlook will allow you to block the sender. Similarly, clicking the  in Gmail will report the sender as spam. Both will clear the messages from your inbox and reference them for future protection.
Gmail Example: Outlook Example:
 

 


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