How can we stay alert to computer viruses, phishing and other internet dangers? We all get them – an email that looks so authentic from a reputable source – very hard to resist clicking on the link. I received one this morning from Apple (or so I thought), advising my password had changed and to confirm. Given that I had downloaded an app yesterday, it was feasible, but of course, not true.
So, how to stay on top of these lurking "nasties". We have a couple of suggestions that can assist:
Stay Smart Online
We subscribe to the free government service Stay Smart Online. You can set your preferences, but we have it set to send an email alert every time there is a new scam detected. An example of an email received this week follows.
Australia Post is warning its customers to be wary of a new email scam which threatens you with accumulating costs for holding your undelivered parcel.
The email includes several invitations to click on links to find out more information, each of which could lead to malware or seek to trick you into entering details such as your credit card number or other personal identity information.
The phishing email uses convincing Australia Post branding and colours, but the use of English is poor. Like many other examples of phishing, it has been sent from an email address that is not related to Australia Post.
Australia Post also states it will never:
- ask for your password
- ask you to enter information on a web page that is not part of Australia Post
- send you an email asking for credit card details or account information
- call you out of the blue to request payment (eg. for an undeliverable mail item)
An example of the phishing email is provided below.
Where I have any doubt about an email but am "tempted", a simple Google search on the email subject or contents will often bring a clear answer.
Having considered the above, it is clear that it is better to delete and miss something, than take the risk of clicking the link.