Tech Tip - Let's Go Phishing.
This is the kind of “fishing” – spelled “phishing” - you don’t want to do. In this type of fishing, you are the fish. Beware – don’t take the bait.
Here’s how it works. You receive an email from what seems to be a legitimate business organization, like a bank, a retailer, or an on-line business. The email says that you are a valued customer but that your account is about to be suspended or closed. You are asked to click on a link in the email which takes you to a very legitimate looking web site, and then to verify certain personal information about yourself – say your social security number, your address, and your Visa credit card number, in order to update your account and keep it current and active. If you “take the bait” (you are the “fish”), you are caught.
Phishing has taken on a new twist recently called browser spoofing. In this case, the email you receive has an link to an actual site, like www.paypal.com, for instance. When you place your mouse over the link, you see the address in the lower left hand corner – it says www.paypal.com. Ah-ha – you think it must be a legitimate link. You click on the link and sure enough, it takes you to www.paypal.com. At least you think it is paypal.com because you look in the address bar and it says www.paypal.com. This must be the real thing! Well - it’s not! In fact, you are at a phony site that looks just like the real paypal.com. It’s called browser spoofing.
Here’s the good news about browser spoofing. Most Internet Explorer browsers are not vulnerable to browser spoofing. But many other browsers are, like Netscape, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Galeon, Camino, and Safari (Mac’s internet browser). Wow – if you are using one of these browsers – beware!
Whether it’s phishing or browser spoofing, the threat is real. So what do you do? Be smart - protect yourself by following these simple rules.
(1) Do not trust any links in emails you receive from unknown sources. Be very suspicious if you receive an email that displays images and links and looks like a legitimate place, like Ebay, Paypal, Amazon, AOL, your bank or credit card company or any other company you do business with. Do not click on these links.
(2) When you are on the internet, be very suspicious of hyperlinks on web pages you have never visited before. If you don’t have a good feeling about a website – leave!
(3) You can eliminate your chances of being hijacked by a spoofed URL by manually typing in an address in the address bar
A computer villain may send out millions of these bogus emails and if they get just a handful of them to take the bait, they are successful. Don’t be one of their success stories!
Read this fascinating article on how to catch "phisher" that appeared in Newsweek last week.
Here are Tony Bradley’s 5 steps to protect yourself from becoming a victim of phishing.
Happy fishing - not Phishing!
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