What is Phishing Exactly?
Normally instigated via email, phishing attacks comprise of messages that appear to come from a legitimate organization that require the victim to perform some action that discloses sensitive information. This usually comprises of a warning to the victim that details must be updated on the organizations website or some adverse action will occur (such as the victims account will be shutdown). The warning is accompanied by a website link that takes the victim to the purported website. The trick is that the website is not legitimate and although appears to be valid with appropriate logos and company details, is actually a website designed to capture the sensitive information you would otherwise protect.
How do I protect myself from Phishing?
Phishing emails have similar traits that you can use to identify them. Any emails received with the following traits should be treated as suspicious:
1. Generic greetings. Phishing emails are usually sent in large batches. To save time, Internet criminals use generic names like "WorldPay Customer" so they don't have to type all recipients' names out and send emails one-by-one. If you don't see your name, be suspicious.
2. Forged links. Even if a link has a name you recognize somewhere in it, it doesn't mean it links to the real organization. Roll your mouse over the link and see if it matches what appears in the email. If there is a discrepancy, don't click on the link. Also, websites where it is safe to enter personal information begin with "https" the "s" stands for secure. If you don't see "https" do not proceed.
3. Requests personal information. The point of sending phishing email is to trick you into providing your personal information. If you receive an email requesting your personal information, it is probably phishing attempt. WorldPay would NEVER legitimately send an email asking you to enter personal information.
4. A Sense of urgency. Internet criminals want you to provide your personal information NOW. They do this by making you think something has happened that requires you to act fast. The faster they get your information, the faster they can move on to another victim.