In today’s world where people are comfortable with doing purchases or even their banking online, it is to be noted that the criminal elements will want a piece of that pie. It is not just our banking information that they target anymore. It is our identity, in its entirety, that they will aim for. Scammers will try to get just that through phishing scams that systematically target us through different ways like emails, social media, or even through our search engine. It is important to be aware of the most common signs of a phishing email or spoofed website.
However, as criminals seek to evolve and come up with even more believable fake websites, it’s equally important that you, as a user, step up your cyber defenses by making use of anti-phishing software.
How Does It Work?
Regardless of the type of anti-phishing software you run (browser integrated or a separate program altogether), it should work in a similar manner. Constantly updated data regarding the known phishing scams and phishing sites are stored within the software. You, the user, is then sent a notification or an alert should you ever access a dubious and potentially dangerous website. In a browser integrated program, a small notification prompts you at the top of your screen or the entire page is blocked off with a warning. In standalone software, the notification pops up at the lower right portion of your screen (something which is common in other programs).
How Effective Is It?
Like all computer programs, not all are created equal. Some anti-phishing software (usually the free ones) can erroneously tag legitimate websites as harmful ones. This can be quite the pain as you may have to manually list the website as ‘safe’. This is where you need to be discerning about the different anti-phishing programs available. The more highly rated programs like SpoofGuard come with a higher success rate in sending relevant notifications when threats are detected.
In-Browser Anti-Phishing Options
Most users utilize either Firefox or Chrome when doing your internet activities. They usually come pre-equipped with some decent anti-phishing protection like Google Safe Browsing. Gone are the days where that used to be a separate application that needed to be downloaded manually. Add-on toolbars are also viable for in-browser software. However, do endeavor to study which add-ons are effective and which ones are dead weight or even a phishing app. A good way to do this is by looking up reviews in blogs or forums.
Standalone Anti-Phishing Software
This refers to programs that you’ll need to install into your system. There are several pop-up blockers commercially available—this is useful as a lot of phishing attacks are done through pop-up windows and tabs. You may even look for an antivirus program that comes with its own anti-phishing features. It is to be noted that this may be a pricier option and should be perused carefully.
It is crucial that you constantly keep in mind that should criminals ever get a hold of your personal information through phishing, you can be open to some serious damage. Phishing scams are becoming smarter and harder to detect each day so it’s important that you arm yourself and your system with a good anti-phishing program.