In this modern age of technology, the advantages of online communication - websites, emails, and social media platforms- also face many dangers and disadvantages. It should not be a surprise to know and learn how we expose ourselves to malicious and dangerous cyber attacks for every information we put out into the world. The world wide web is not just filled with rainbows and sunshine, after all, a dark web exists, and we all know it. Even just one cyber attack can cause us a lot of trouble, and with all the different types that exist, we ought to do our best to prevent everyone as much as we can. Now, that responsibility bears more weight as a website owner and a business owner. As either or both of these two, you have added responsibility because you practically contribute to the avenues of hackers to enact any of their cyber attacks - cyber phishing, to be specific.
In this article, we will discuss the different features you can use to prevent any phishing attack on your website and your visitors’ and customers’ information. In addition, we are also going to talk all about phishing so you would have enough knowledge and information at hand to recognize and detect phishing attacks. The more you know about cyber attacks, cyber phishing, and the dark web, the better.
What is Phishing?
Phishing refers to the process done by cybercriminals. They lure their victims with a well-planned and carefully curated bait of information to get their information and essentially hack them. More specifically, an email phishing attack is a hacker’s act (or attempt) to fraudulently masquerade as someone legitimate or reputable. Usually, these attacks are made through emails and other forms of communication lines online, which is also often called an email phishing attack. The main objective of phishing is to extract or steal personal information. Passwords, bank account numbers, credit card details, social security numbers, login credentials, etc. are often scammed out of people. They are used by scammers for financial gain or even identity theft.
What typically happens in a phishing attack is that a person (a victim) receives an email or a personal message on any social media platform. This message is usually structured as one that comes from a reputable or known contact or organization. A file or a link to a website is attached to this email or message. Neither of which is actually valid or lawful, but is aimed to direct the victim to a fake website that will ask for their personal and/or financial information or install malware in the victim’s device.
While some of these cyber attacks are easy to identify, the existence of phishing kits makes the attempts of cybercriminals worldwide go through with their attempts at a phishing attack. A phishing kit contains a zipped file created by cloning a legitimate website and changing the actual login page to lead into a credential-stealing script. This zipped file is what hackers and cyber attackers use and upload to the target websites, where emails collected by this website are sent an email phishing attack to collect their private information.
As a frequent online user and now a website owner, it is crucial to recognize when a cyber attack comes your way. Becoming aware and conscious about it will help you not fall for the trap. In addition, you also arm yourself with information to aid your website visitors and customers not to fall for any phishing attacks that come their way. Even if you were hacked too, in this latter case, one way or another, you are partly responsible if ever their private information is taken from them and they suffer dire consequences. Here are some tips and tricks about detecting and avoiding falling for even a single email phishing attack.
Use spam filters. While spam filters are not always 100% accurate, it lessens the probability of an account user opening an email phishing attack. Spam filters assess the origin of the message, the software used to send the message, and the actual contents. The identified spam mails are then blocked so that these messages are not opened.
Double-check the URL first before clicking. Legitimate links to secure websites have a valid Secure socket layer (SSL) certificate that begins with “https”. By hovering over the link attached to emails or messages, you can prevent yourself from getting trapped in a phishing attack. If you do not see a valid SSL, then have some doubts and try not to open these links first.
Update your browser settings not to open fraudulent websites. Usually, browsers already have a list of websites that contain malicious content and dangerous links. Thus, when you are being led into the trap of a cyber attack, you will be given a warning message saying that the particular website you are trying to open is legitimate or blocked.
Usesecuritysoftware. There are a lot of antivirus programs and software that you can install on your computer and other devices. This may take some space from your devices, but this will really help you avoid becoming a victim of a cyber attack in the long run.
Opt for multi-factor authentication. Cyber phishing is done because people fall into the trap of giving out personal and private information. Another person then uses this information for identity or financial theft. Having a multi-factor authentication process in place will make their jobs more difficult because they wouldn’t easily access your data.
In addition to those tips, here are some phishing techniques commonly used in various cyber attacks that you have to look out for.
There is a sense of urgency to the email or message - asking you for a change in password, etc.
The email says that your account has been flagged for suspicious activity, log in attempts, or a problem in any of your accounts.
Out of the blue, it asks you to confirm your personal information.
It can also trick you into thinking that you are eligible for free stuff or even a government fund.
You are charged with an invoice you did order or ask for payment regarding something.
A phishing attack is usually sent by someone outside your organization and has a public account.
The URL attached or even the email address uses misspelled words.
As a Strikingly website owner, you can give your website visitors and customers some protection against any form of phishing attack. Even with a custom domain, your secure sockets layer (SSL) over the HyperText Transfer protocol is already automatically enabled. This means that you are giving your customers and visitors the confidence that any information (personal, financial, etc.) they give out to you and your website is safe and cannot be viewed by third parties. This not only protects you and your customers from any form of a cyber attack, but it is also an effective SEO technique.
Strikingly recognizes the importance of knowing and keeping awareness regarding a cyber attack or phishing attack. Therefore, Strikingly has a form wherein anyone can fill out in case they notice or see these types of activities. This is an effort to emphasize how important it is for Strikingly that all users and their users have a healthy and safe website environment. Since most of the Strikingly websites collect personal and private information, a phishing attack can probably occur. Thus, this form is a community effort so that virtually no cyber attack can threaten anyone in this community.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a law in Europe that aims to regulate and unify the control of their citizens over each of their personal data and information. If you are collecting data from the citizens of the European Union, this is one of the regulations that you have to follow. This helps your visitors and customers to be protected from a phishing attack, among others. Strikingly makes this easy for website owners like you to do. GDPR primarily protects the personal information of EU residents’ in general, so protection from a phishing attack is not its only purpose. You can do this by enabling the said settings in the legal settings of your site editor. You can find the settings to enable privacy policies, terms conditions, and cookie notifications in this menu.
Adding a contact form on your website is one of the most basic and most important ways to collect contact information as a website owner. And as we already talked about, that can be very dangerous for those who divulge the said information. Therefore, putting certain protection barriers in place is vital for the business, and Strikingly recognizes that. To put your mind at ease, we at Strikingly have an internal system to detect when contact forms are being used for phishing. Thus, with Strikingly, you not only arm yourself with hundreds of templates, but it also helps you in protecting yourself, your website and your business, and your customers. Sign up now, and let’s help each other prevent a phishing attack to the best of our capabilities.