Cyber Security Awareness Month: protecting yourself and others

  • Published
  • By 97th Communications Squadron
  • 97th Communications Squadron

In this day and age, it is almost impossible to live without the internet. Despite cybersecurity professionals’ best efforts, cyber attacks have only increased over the years.

The good news is one of the most common types of attacks, phishing, can be easily prevented by everyone, no matter their cyber prowess.

A phishing attack is a message sent to a victim by an attacker to get them to do something. Most often it is to gain information by having victims access a link to an external site and enter their personal information. Phishing messages can be texts, emails, pop-ups or instant messages. This type of attack relies on a victim’s goodwill, trusting that the source of the message is legitimate and that they have good reason to provide information to their unknown attacker.

The main defense against this type of attack is to be cautious when opening and reading messages. In the same way that we look both ways before crossing a street, we must scrutinize the sender, the content and the link to protect ourselves and others. Before we even open a message, we must ask “who is this person? Should this person/entity be contacting me? Are they who they say they are?”

After we open the message, we should consider the content, is their grammar correct and are they using professional language? Before we access any links to external sources, does the link look right? Do we understand where it is going? Are there any typos in the link? Often, links will be to a site that is close to correct but not quite right such as M!CROSOFT vs MICROSOFT or GOOGLE vs GOOOGLE.

Asking these questions can help make sure all forms of messages are safe, not just work email. For more information on how to protect yourself from phishing, contact the 97th Communications Squadron at 481-7000.