Email phishing is an activity of cyber criminals that use electronic mail and instant messaging to fraudulently attempt to retrieve private information of unsuspecting victims such as login details, credit/debit card information whilst also disguising as legitimate businesses.
Most of the time, you may receive an email supposedly from Guaranty Trust Bank, PiggyVest, Opera News or any reputable or well known company.
In the email, you may be asked to click a link and enter your private data. Once clicked, you will land on a lookalike website of the company that purportedly sent the email. Once in, and the phisher or hacker has your private data, he can then wreak havoc via the breach.
How to keep Email phishing cyber criminals at bay
It is quite easy to protect your online security if you are always alert and suspicious of every email that you receive.
Don’t be quick to respond or click on the link that accompanies the malicious emails so as not to gullibly reveal your personal data to cyber criminals.
To recognize these dangerous emails, you will notice that they do not address you by name ( although some now have a way of getting the first name or surname of their victims ), this is however one red flag you should take cognizance of.
Also, you may notice that the email may contain an attachment whose file name is not properly described, for example “goodmorning.docx” and “negotiation.pdf”. It could also have unusual file extensions like person.oxo, .exe and so on.
The truth is. even if the file name is in order, never download any email attachment for which you have not confirmed the sender.
Good enough that email service providers these days warn about suspicious emails and ask if the recipient is willing to proceed with download the potentially dangerous email – the choice is yours to make! Make the right choice.
Another thing worthy of mention is the use of English.
Most email phishing contents are usually riddled with grammatical and spelling errors – this way, you should be able to know that such cannot come from a professional or responsible company or individual.
Anyone that would send email that way can as well send you a WhatsApp message instead where all manner of abbreviations and slangs are permissible.
For spam emails – these ones are not necessarily dangerous but they are just what they are – unwanted, unsolicited and time consuming.
Imagine not registering for updates from online stores like Jumia, Konga, Jiji etc yet you keep getting emails from them consistently?
This can be annoying and tricky to stop especially if there is no option for you to unsubscribe or opt out.
Again as it works for phishing emails, so does it work for spam emails.
For popular email protocols like Gmail, AOL, spam blockers are integrated in the email system that filters all emails, sifts the ‘wheat from the chaff” and and stores all suspected spam emails in a folder tagged “junk or Spam”
The bottom-line is to never download any attachment or click any suspicious link whatsoever without proper confirmation and authentication of the sender.
Apple users are less likely to be targeted though but Windows users are mostly the target of hackers and phishers for the fact the Microsoft allows users to make changes to its Windows Operating System.