and Your Kids Today

Markus Jakobsson and Steven Myers, authors of the book Phishing and Countermeasures: Understanding the increasing problem of electronic identity theft state that phishing is a “form of social engineering in which an attacker, also known as a phisher attempts to fraudulently retrieve legitimate users confidential or sensitive credentials by mimicking electronic communications from a trustworthy or public organisation”.

Individuals engaged in phishing attempt to gain others trust in order to get them to click a link or open an attachment. This can be very dangerous for the unsuspecting victim, as clicking a certain link may put them at risk where personal details may be compromised or harmful software installed onto their device. This harmful software would be virtually undetectable to the average user, hence, it would be very easy to gain sensitive information or gain access to private e-mails and contacts.

Warning signs of a phishing attack

Know what to look out for in order to avoid being the victim of a phishing attack.

  • Be weary of emails starting with “Dear Customer”
  • Make sure the e-mail address of the sender is spelt correctly (example: if the e-mail is from ABSA bank make sure it is ABSA’s ligitimate e-mail address)
  • Be on the lookout for e-mails written in broken English as these are normally a phisher attack
  • Look out for spelling mistakes
  • Do not open e-mails stating that you are the winner of a contest (that you did not enter)
  • In order to see the senders true e-mail address hover your mouse over the sender
  • Hover your mouse over the link in order to see if it is the same as what is written in the email

What do you do if you are the victim of a phishing attack  

  • Disconnect your device

If you are the victim of a phishing attack, you need to disconnect your device straight away. In order to do this you can unplug the Internet cable. If you are connected via Wi-Fi then go to your settings on your device and disconnect it from the network. By doing this you will limit the exposure of the malware spreading to other parts of your computer and/or other devices. Also look at this article.

  • Back-up your files

When you disconnect from the Internet be sure to backup all your files. It would be a good idea to get a portable storage device that you can download your information onto quickly and easily.

  • If you are not very tech savvy call a professional

It is important to realise when you may be in danger of a phishing attack. If you suspect that you have fallen prey to an attack then it may be feasible to call a professional to come and have a look at your devices in order to make sure that your important information was not compromised.

  • Scan your computer

Scan your computer every few days in order to get rid of any viruses or threats.