Phishing, when scammers pose as legitimate businesses and agencies to dupe people into giving away their personal information, is an ever-evolving problem. Once they’ve gained access to this information, it is used to commit crimes like identity theft or to access financial accounts. Phishing scams are especially frustrating because there is often little or no recourse for the victim. Perpetrators operate all over the world, using computers that are not traceable to them. Law enforcement is only able to do so much given the scope of the problem, so the best defense against phishing is to take a preventative approach. Use the resources provided here to learn more about phishing and, more importantly, what you can do to protect yourself.
If you’re not already familiar with some phishing terminology and tactics, start here. The links in this section will take you to trusted sites and pages where you can learn more about the nature of these kinds of scams. You’ll also learn how to recognize phishing attempts via email, messaging, social media, and wherever else you may be solicited by a scammer. These pages will also take you through the fundamentals of prevention and protection.
Malware Protection Basics — This About.com article gives a good basic rundown of the best ways to minimize your vulnerability to malware across multiple platforms.
Hacking, Phishing, and Malware Oh My! — This “Phishing 101” blog post will take you through the basic terminology associated with Phishing scams, along with some steps you can take to tighten up your own internet security.
AntiPhishing.org — This site was created by a nonprofit group dedicated to educating the public about cybercrimes like phishing. On the site, you can learn about the latest techniques used by online con artists, browse through stories from victims, and report suspected scams. The collective knowledge housed on this site is incredibly valuable, and it’s all free to use.
Microsoft Phishing Information Page — Microsoft Phishing Information Page Visit Microsoft Security’s page for information on how to spot phishing scams in general, along with specific tips and guidelines for Internet Explorer and Outlook users – including how to use built-in fraud prevention functionality.
Apple Support Phishing Page — Apple Support Phishing Page — For Macintosh users, Apple Support has published this page with information about how to detect phishing scams while using the company’s platforms, browsers, and email services.
Several government agencies have set up pages specifically to address concerns about phishing in hopes of empowering people to defend themselves against online crimes. All encourage everyone to report any suspected scams. Most of these agencies work together with the eventual goal of identifying and eradicating the sources of internet fraud like phishing scams.
FTC Identity Theft Information Page — FTC Identity Theft Information Page — If you suspect that a scammer has obtained your information, visit this Federal Trade Commission page right away. If your information has been compromised, it’s very likely that your identity will be stolen. Here you’ll find the immediate steps you need to take in order to protect yourself and recover as quickly as possible.
IRS Report Phishing Page — Many scammers have tried to lure people into giving up personal information by pretending to be representatives of the Internal Revenue Service. The department has published this page to keep the public abreast of the latest scams. There’s an extended list of additional resources and a place to report suspected phishing scams, too.
On Guard Online — This is the U.S. government’s educational page about phishing scams. Here you’ll find good information to help you avoid getting taken in by online swindlers. There are also links you can follow to report a scam if you suspect one or have been victimized.
FBI New E-Scams and Warnings Page — The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation keeps a page chronicling the latest cyber security threats, along with the best ways for you to go about recognizing and avoiding them. You can also use the regularly updated page to report a scam or suspected scam.
A common tactic of phishing scammers is to install malicious software (malware) onto the host device. Once there malware can be used to track your online activity, harvest your sensitive data, and damage your computer’s hard drive. It’s of utmost importance to learn about the different types of malware going around and what you can do to prevent becoming infected. If you suspect you already have fallen prey to this kind of attack, most of these sites go through steps you can take to remove it and recover as quickly as possible.
Microsoft Malware Protection Center — Microsoft Security created this specialized page, which features a free diagnostic tool as well as security software for Microsoft users.
Malware Prevention and Removal — This extensive and informative article goes through different types of malware, how to recognize your vulnerabilities, and the best ways to protect yourself from an attack. The article is geared specifically toward Microsoft Windows users, but there’s good advice for everyone throughout.
Browser Security Test Reports — One of the ways that cyber scammers are able to gain access to information is by exploiting vulnerabilities in internet browsers. NSS Labs publishes regular comparative analysis reports that are free to view and download. The purpose of these reports is to track how well all the major browsers do in terms of preventing their users from encountering phishing sites or downloading malware.
Virus Removal Guide — These pages come from a tech site and contain over 900 comprehensive guides for removing different types of malware. There are separate tutorials for just about every operating system, device, and browser.
Virus, Spyware, and Malware Protection — This informative blog post explains the most prevalent types of malware. There’s also a mini-review of some of the popular malware protection software on the market.
It’s not enough to be vigilant only when using your laptop or desktop computer. Cyber criminals are targeting mobile devices like phones and tablets, infiltrating through duplicitous apps or gaining entry while on an open network. No operating system is immune, so it’s best to take every precaution when it comes to the security of your phone, tablet, or other device. The following articles are full of good tools and resources to help you combat mobile phishing.
Wired.com on Spear Phishing — Spear phishing is a relatively new kind of mobile phishing scam where specific people are targeted because of their affiliation with a particular company or organization. Reports of spear phishing are widespread and growing in number. This article elaborates on the practice of spear phishing and offers some advice for vulnerable organizations and individuals.
Signs of Malware Infection — If you are an Android user, this is a great guide to help you figure out whether your device could be infected and what to do if it is.
Malware Misbehaviors — Malware Misbehaviors – From McAfee Security’s blog, this is an excellent article about how malware can affect your phone or other mobile device and how to tell if your security has been compromised.
Apple Discussion on Mobile Malware — This page has information from the Apple Support Community to address the issue of malware on iOS devices. You’ll learn how to avoid becoming infected, and find links to articles about real life cases of malware attacks.