Cybersafety Course

AVOIDING PHISHING ATTACKS AND MALWARE

AVOIDING PHISHING ATTACKS

A phishing attack occurs when a cybercriminal sends out a mass email trying to trick recipients into opening the attachments or to click on links.

  • Never send personal information via email unless you are 100% certain of the person to whom you are sending it. Never send passwords for any of your accounts via email. Never use the reply option in an email about which you are unsure.
  • Avoid clicking on any links in an email about which you are unsure. Instead, open the official URL of the company (such as a bank or retailer).

WHAT IS SPEARPHISHING?

Spear phishing is a targeted phishing attack. The attacker uses information about you that is gained via social engineering in an effort to convince you to trust an email or text along with its contents.

AVOIDING MALWARE

The word malware is a combination of the words malicious and software. Malware is software that is designed to damage, disable, or control a computer system.

  • When in doubt, always go to the official web site of a business in a separate browser window instead of a link in an email.
  • Avoid opening email attachments unless you are 100% certain that the email is legitimate.
  • Be careful of pop-ups. Use a pop-up blocker. Avoid clicking on any links that appear in pop-up windows.
  • Never purchase any software advertised in a pop-up window.

THE WARNING SIGNS OF MALWARE

  • Your computer runs very slowly and the computer's battery drains quickly.
  • Your computer displays unexpected errors or crashes.
  • Your computer will not shut down or restart.
  • Your computer displays pop-ups or takes you to web pages you did not visit.
  • Your home page changes or you see unexpected icons or tool bars created without your permission.

HACKED EMAIL: WHAT TO DO

  • Update or install security software on your computer and make sure it is up to date.
  • Scan your computer with the security software. Delete anything the software identifies as suspicious.
  • If you can get into your account, change your password. If you can't, reach out to your email provider for help.
  • Check your account to make sure that no one added any links to your email signature and that your messages are not being forwarded to someone else.
  • Let your family and friends know that your email account was hacked.

The Federal Trade Commission maintains a web site for consumers with the latest scam alerts. Visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts to see their list of known scams.

Works Cited

Google for Education. "Stay Safe from Phishing and Scams." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 25 June 2017. Web. 19 July 2017.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence. "Know the Risk - Raise Your Shield: Spear Phishing." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 8 September 2015. Web. 25 July 2017.

Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin. "How to Avoid Malware Attacks." Online video clip. YouTube, 10 October 2014. Web. 25 July 2017.

Federal Trade Commission. "Protect Your Computer From Malware - Federal Trade Commission." Online video clip. YouTube, 3 October 2012. Web. 25 July 2017.

Federal Trade Commission. "Hacked Email: What to Do - Federal Trade Commission." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 23 March 2015. Web. 25 July 2017.


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  • Bug by Chameleon Design
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