How to avoid email phishing scams

Unlike a virus, phishing relies on human error


Russia has been accused of hacking top US officials, most notably Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta.

On Thursday we learned other phishing attacks against U.S. computer systems could happen.

See also: Cybercrime hotspots revealed - along with centres of cybercrime worriers

See also: We're still ignoring all the good advice on passwords


So what can you do about it?

A phishing attack isn't like a computer virus, where up-to-date security software might catch it before it does any damage.

Phishing relies on human error, and humans are prone to errors, whether they run a political campaign or the town's corner bakery.

The best defence — no matter your position — is to recognise what a phishing attempt looks like.

That means knowing how companies handle sensitive information.

The message might look urgent, the letterhead might look official, but a company like Google won't ever ask you to alter your account details over email.

Don't open attachments, and don't follow links from suspicious emails.

If you think you need to visit a website, type out its address into the search bar and if a message looks — well — fishy, say something to the relevant authorities or the company involved.