Those of us who have had the good fortune and sense not to fall victim to a phishing attack, may wonder at those who have. And even get mad sometimes – if there were no such people, phishers wouldn’t find the effort worth while, and we wouldn’t have to be annoyed by the attempts.
But here’s some news from the Washington Post that shows that sometimes it’s not stupidity, naivetÃ© or lack of knowledge – you could just be distracted enough not to think of what you’re doing.
FBI Director Robert Mueller revealed a personal experience that you wouldn’t expect someone of his position in law enforcement to have had. He admitted that he was recently almost duped by a phishing email claiming to come from his bank and in which he was asked to verify information online.
Without thinking, he started doing so. But then reason kicked in, he realized what he was doing and stopped. Lucky for him that he did. But, as he freely admits, this brush with this kind of peril made him and his family distrust Internet banking altogether.
On the other hand, you have James Finch (who is the former director of FBI’s cyber division) who is adamant that no cyber criminal is going to make him forgo the conveniences of online banking, tax filing or paying of bills.
To avoid falling into the phishing trap, you should check by phone if the email you got from your bank / credit card company / the IRS / or any other institution or business that deals with your money is legitimate, and always check your financial balances.
Also, if you want to put your phishing detection skills to the test, here is a good place to start.