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Knowing these 6 tips will help you avoid phishing attacks on your business

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Hackers Still Offer New Sophisticated Phishing Scams to Steal Any Personal Information They May

Hackers want to access your email because they find there a large amount of valuable personal information.

Example: Earlier this month, a fairly serious phishing attack targeted Gmail users. As NBC News reported:

The worm – which arrived in the mailbox of users pretending to be an email from a trusted contact – asked users to view an attached file "Google Docs" or GDocs. By clicking on the link, you have redirected them to a real Google security page, where users have been invited to allow the fake application, which is called GDocs, to manage the users' email account.

To make matters worse, the worm is also sent to all concerned user contacts – Gmail or others – recurring hundreds of times each time a user had fallen on it

.

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Although I have not been touched by this phishing scam, millions of people have been. I knew some of them.

Fortunately, most of my friends were savvy enough to recognize the scam for what she was and reported and deleted the emails. Most, but not all, unfortunately.

Do not become the next victim of pirates. Keep your personal data safe.

Here's how to recognize phishing and how to avoid it.

How phishing works

At the most basic level, here is how a phishing scam works:

You receive an urgent message of some kind. It comes from a reliable source (for example, a social network, a store that you buy online, your bank). The e-mail looks real – it even uses the logo and perfectly imitates the colors of this company.

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All these emails ask you to click on a (malicious) link that takes you to a fake login page or to a page asking you to grant permission. Here's how hackers get your personal data – you give it without knowing it, while thinking that you are logging into one of your accounts.

How to avoid it

What can you do if you suspect phishing?

Here are some simple tips from Citrix ShareFile, which help businesses share files securely:

1. Do not panic and click on anything until you know it is legitimate. One of your contacts just shared a Google document with you unexpectedly. Strange, no? Yes! This person has no reason to share a document with you. While you might be curious to see what it is, stop. Do not open it. Investigate first. Send an e-mail to your contact and ask if he has actually shared a document with you.

2. Check for red flags, such as strange e-mail addresses or spelling mistakes. In the Phishing attack of Google Docs, the e-mail was sent to a fake e-mail address ([email protected]), not to his address. It's a clear gift that something phishy is going on.

3. Warn the company that is usurped. Do a simple search on Google to get contact information for the company (in the case of Google, they have a whole page on how to report a variety scam). Also be sure to click the down arrow next to the Reply button and click "Report Phishing" to report the email.

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4. Share on your social media channels. Social media is faster than traditional media. The Google phishing attack was another example. I discovered this scam after a few of my friends posted it – well before a single story was written.

5. Call your friends and family. Alert anyone who you think might be affected by the phishing attack.

6. Send an e-mail to your mailing lists. Help us stop the scam as soon as you learn it so that it does not continue to spread.

You can see the full size computer graphics here.

Photo via Shutterstock

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