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Awareness the best way to prevent phishing, expert says

Phishing, an online scamming method in which crooks send legitimate-looking emails to victims and ask for private data such as credit card info, is growing in popularity in the UK, a recent study suggests.

According to figures from the government-backed cybersecurity body GetSafeOnline, phishing rose 21 per cent last year, and had cost British consumers £174.4 million in the process.

Ronnie Tokazowski, Senior Researcher at PhishMe, a company educating people how to combat phishing, commented on the recent findings.

Talking about days to come, Tokazowski says awareness is the best defence. "If users are not aware of the types of attacks used by cyber criminals, they are more likely to fall victim in these types of scams,” he says. “By showing them what to look out for, we can better condition users to not fall victim to these types of scams."

He says that people should always be wary of people asking credit card information and similar data over email.

"Attackers are always trying to find a way to make money, and phishing is just one of their social engineering methods. If someone calls and asks for different pieces of information, such as a credit card number, be very cautious.”

Tech support claims are also very common, he says. Always be careful when approached by people who claim to be tech support of various companies.

“If someone calls claiming to be tech support, this is a scam. By paying attention and questioning the person on the phone or email you received, you can help better protect yourself.”