(This article is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column).
Itay Glick is the CEO of Votiro Inc., an internet security services technology firm that specializes in identifying unknown threats embedded in emails and data exchanged in the context of an enterprise network. “The phishing threat is not just a concern for businesses,” Glick said, “Everybody is vulnerable. Phishing emails are sophisticated and contain references that are relevant to the user.” This is what is known as “spear-phishing” scams, which are personalized to deceive.
According to Glick the problem is that when it comes to using email, which is very personal and feels like secure environment, it is easy to let your guard down and click on links embedded in emails that are referencing your friends and organizations familiar to you. “We educate [people] to be aware, especially when you are tired or distracted.”
Phishing is a real problem for families as well who can be tricked into downloading malware by clicking on links embedded in malicious emails that appear very legitimate. All it takes is one click, and the malware is granted permission to enter your system and do whatever it is programmed to do – including identity theft and gaining control over functions like the camera, or capture personal data and images to use for extortion.
Glick offers a list of the most common email subject lines that cyber attackers use with this cautionary note: “Cyber criminals are patient,” Glick said, “They are waiting for you to make a mistake.”
Top 7 email subject lines attackers use to trick users
- Your order 10232 from Create Blinds Online: Paid
- Payment Receipt
- Your order No. 3269637 has been dispatched
- Fax Message Attached from 010435265312
- WhatsApp Chat with Jay Stephen
- Payment Accepted
- Your Latest DHL Invoice : BHX8726235
In most cases, the prudent thing to do is to ignore emails that appear “official” but are not expected nor timely. For example, if you were not expecting a package from UPS, don’t click on the link saying “check the status here”. Ignore it, or if you think it might be official, contact the company directly. The most common objective of “spear-phishing” is to get at your financial information to access your bank accounts. So if you get an email from your bank that is asking for verification of personal data, then you may want to call the bank or visit the local branch and verify there is a legitimate outreach to you. And more importantly, as you are responding to these malicious emails, point them out to your children so they can learn how to be discerning about responding inquiries that feel “familiar”.
Votiro offers a service to protect against spear-phishing scams by scanning for unknown or hidden viruses for a modest monthly fee per user. To learn more, go to: Votiro
As the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner, my personal mission is to educate and inspire parents from all walks of life and social settings to realize their inherent authority to govern the home and educate the child about their own power; the personal power that comes from the spiritual resilience of your chosen faith. And so I write for Examiner.com to express the passion of my mother heart to a diverse audience.
ABOUT: Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God grants every human being intelligence and free will and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
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