Phishing is basically the unlawful act of retrieving personal data like passwords, email addresses, credit card information and usernames. Phishers do this through a dubious email, website pop up, malicious website and even a text message with a link to the phishing site.
So what do you do if you think your computer has been compromised with a phishing software or website? The first logical thing to do is to report it to the relevant authorities. Next, change any sensitive data such as passwords/ usernames and cancel or replace your credit cards. As for your computer, get professional help from a pc or macbook repair shop. Let them diagnose your computer to identify the extent of the problem so that they can better rectify it for you.
How to Keep out Phishers
However, if your computer is not yet affected by phishers, here are 4 simple ways to protect it.
Be Careful Before Clicking Links
If you come across an email or message, even if it comes from a supposed reputable company, that directs you to click on a random link , do not just do so blindly before verifying its authenticity. Check to see whether that email or message really comes from the actual company or if it looks dubious. Phishing sites tend to use fake accounts that appear like a legitimate company but is not really authentic. Check with the company to verify the email or message before you click the link.
Have an Anti-Phishing Toolbar Installed on your Browser
Most anti-phishing toolbars are free to download and can be easily installed onto your website browser. However, an anti-phishing toolbar can be a lifesaver once you have it on your browser. The toolbar will alert you if you are on a malicious website. It compares the website you are on with a list of known phishing websites. This helps to reduce the risk of your personal data from being stolen.
Check a Website’s Security
You can check a site’s security from its address bar. The URL address should start with a ‘https’ and there should be a lock symbol at the address bar. Next, you should also take extra precaution by verifying the security certificate of the website. Do not ever download files from the site or key in your credit card details to purchase something from it if you cannot verify its security certificate or if you suspect that it is malicious.
Install Firewalls & Antivirus Software on your Computer
Firewalls and antivirus software are like immune systems for your computer. They help to add extra layers of security and ward off virus, malware, Trojans and phishing sites from penetrating through your computer. There are two types of firewalls, mainly a desktop firewall and network firewall. Network firewall is a hardware while a desktop firewall is software. At the same time, do ensure that your antivirus software is updated with the latest definitions. Firewalls and antivirus software work hand in hand to greatly minimize the risks of attacks from hackers and phishers.
And there you have it, four simple yet effective ways to prevent phishing and to protect your personal data.