Phishing: How to Avoid being Bait

Phishing: How to Avoid being Bait

Phishing. For most of us that are around computers, we all know it’s no good for our precious devices and something we never want to happen.  But for most, if we were to explain exactly what it means, we may be hard pressed. So, here goes the actual Merriam Webster app definition, “Phishing – a scam by which an e-mail user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly.” Here’s the Kelly Zawierucha definition, “Phishing- where some jerk sends you an e-mail disguised as appearing to be something you should open and if you indeed do they will take your info and scam you out of money and potential identity theft.”  Simply put, bad juju if you fall prey to this.

So how does one ward off becoming a victim of the evils that is Phishing? The easiest answer and I swear, it’s so simple that it’s tried and true. If you don’t recognize it, don’t even open it beyond the preview. Delete it. Smite it. Show that email who’s boss. I get far more emails than I’d like. If I’m not unsubscribing, I’m simply deleting. That’s your safest bet. Whether the tactic is they’re trying to get you to open an invoice or a document, or whatever flavor of the month they’re trying to throw you, when in doubt, shut it out. Oh, and before you do delete these potential phishing emails, mark it as spam first. This way if it reoccurs it won’t flood your main inbox as much.

So what happens if you do open a phishing email that has malicious software? Hopefully your antivirus stops it with a pop up saying it was blocked. If not, once you’re infected, you’re infected. A lot of times you’re locked out of your computer or certain files. They’ll then hit you with the ransomware letting you know it won’t get released unless you pay them. And if you’re naive enough to pay them, you in all likelihood won’t be able to retrieve your files. But I’m sure the nice phishing people (note sarcasm) appreciate your charity.

So how do you get your files back once this happens? You HAVE to and I mean HAVE to have a data backup. Be ahead of the curve. Do this. Have you ever heard of someone to REGRET having a back up? There’s a reason why. Whether it’s the cloud, a flash drive or both. Because if this happens to your computer, the way to remedy it is to wipe your computer and do a reload with your back up. We’re all taught to follow our instincts so do when it comes to emails. We all have that feeling in our gut when we get an email we don’t recognize. We all get that twinge we should delete it. It really is that simple. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, teach a girl to elude the phishing man and one by one she’ll starve him out of his evil practices.