How to stay cyber-safe from Phishing scams

Phishing happens waaay more often than you may think. Like, more often than Cat made catty comments on The Bachelor.

Don’t want your data encrypted? Read on for tips and tricks to avoid becoming a victim.

What is Phishing?

Cybercriminals use phishing—a type of social engineering—to manipulate people into doing what they want.

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to either gain sensitive information or influence a computer user to take actions to infect their computing device with malware. The word is a play on the word ‘fishing’ due to the similarity of using a bait in an attempt to catch a victim.

Unfortunately, technology makes phishing easy. Setting up and operating a phishing attack is fast, inexpensive and a low barrier entry for cybercriminals.

Phishing and Social Media

Phishing has evolved considerably in recent years. While in the past Phishing attacks usually occurred over email, today it’s where Millennials spend the bulk of their online time: social media.

Attackers target Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, Google+, Instagram and other social media users with malicious phishing links. They lure victims to impersonation web sites by incorporating phishing links into posts or comments. Attackers also distribute phishing lures in text, SMS, Skype, Messenger, other messaging services and good ol’ emails.

How to avoid being a victim to Phishing

These tips can help prevent you being a victim to Phishing:

  • Protect your login details
    No legitimate organisation or company will ask for your username and password—don’t provide them if asked.
  • Beware of email attachments
    Email attachments are the most common vector for malicious software.  Unless you trust the source and expected content, don’t open it!
  • Think before you click!
    Phishing emails often have malicious web links; unless you trust the source and expected content don’t click the link.

What to do if you have fallen victim to a Phishing email

  1. 1. Immediately change your password for any accounts or systems you use that same password for.  Follow our tips to ensure you have a cyber-strong password.
  2. 2. Ensure your device is cleaned from malware (this may involve wiping the entire device in a worst case scenario). Run a virus scan on your computer to detect any malware. Griffith provides Symantec Endpoint Protection for free to students (download from the Software Download Service).
  3. 3. Prepare to restore from backup any files that may have been impacted from malware on your computer.

For more information on cyber security tips visit the Griffith University cybersecurity website.