Phishing Attacks Survival Guide this Festive Season

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Ayanda Khumalo

Date: March 2023

By: Tarsus On Demand 

 

 

Here are 10 Must-Take Steps to Protect Yourself this Festive Season and Beyond 

 

As the holiday season draws near, it’s crucial to remember that cybercriminals are always creeping around, coming up with new traps.
These cyber traps aim to trick individuals into revealing personal information or infecting their devices with harmful software. One of the most common tricks they usually use is phishing attacks. Phishing attacks are a prevalent menace, and they aim to deceive individuals into revealing personal information or infecting their devices with malicious software.



Common red flags in phishing emails include spelling errors, unusual grammar, threatening language, and a lack of context. However, some phishing attempts are exceptionally sophisticated, involving meticulous planning and even scrutiny of the target’s past communications. This level of sophistication can make these attacks highly convincing and successful.
Even IT professionals are not immune to the lure of phishing scams. You could find yourself ensnared in an instant – clicking on a harmless link in an email, only to be hit by a wave of unease as you realise it was a scam. In such moments, what should you do?
Here are some essential steps to take after falling for a phishing scam:

 

  • Pause Before You Share: If you clicked on a suspicious link but refrained from divulging additional information, you may have avoided the worst. Avoid entering credentials or bank details.
  • Go Offline: Some phishing attacks grant scammers access to your device. Swiftly disconnect it from the internet to prevent further damage.
  • Secure Your Data: While disconnecting from the internet can prevent more data from being sent to malicious servers, your data remains at risk. Regularly back up your files, safeguarding sensitive documents and cherished memories.
  • Scan, Scan, Scan: Use reputable antimalware software to scan your device while it’s offline. Consider running a secondary scan for added security.
  • Start Fresh: A factory reset can eradicate malware, but be aware that it irreversibly wipes all data. Regular backups are crucial.
  • Update Your Passwords: If you suspect your login credentials may have been compromised, change your passwords immediately. Avoid reusing passwords across multiple accounts.
  • Reach Out for Help: Inform your bank if you share financial details. Report the scam to local authorities and credit bureaus if necessary.
  • Stay Alert: Criminals may try to maintain a presence in your accounts. Monitor your online activity and report any suspicious changes or transactions.
  • Look for Intruders: Check your active sessions on social media platforms and force logout for any unfamiliar devices.
  • Inform and Protect: Warn your contacts about potential phishing messages sent from your compromised account. Follow your workplace’s protocols for cyber incidents.
 

In conclusion: By staying vigilant against phishing scams and following these steps, you can minimise the impact of a phishing attack and help protect your personal information and devices from falling into the wrong hands. Stay safe this holiday season and beyond.

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