How to Protect Yourself from Phishing, Pharming, Vishing, and Smishing

Security | 0 comments

As a customer of Lancing Light LLC we want you to feel we have your best interest at heart.  We want to make sure that you know and understand essential online security tips that can help you safeguard your personal information and protect yourself from cyber threats. Let’s get into the concepts of phishing, pharming, vishing, and smishing, explaining the dangers and how to identify and making sure you won’t fall prey with our efforts. 

Let’s start with Phishing and how to best avoid being phished. 

Phishing refers to a type of cyber attack where attackers deceive individuals into divulging sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card details, or social security numbers, by posing as trustworthy entities. Typically, phishing attempts occur through fraudulent emails, instant messages, or websites that mimic legitimate organizations or individuals. The attackers employ various tactics to manipulate users into clicking on malicious links, downloading harmful attachments, or providing their personal information. Phishing attacks can result in identity theft, financial loss, and unauthorized access to accounts. It is crucial to stay vigilant and employ preventive measures to avoid falling victim to phishing scams.

Be suspicious of emails that ask for personal information. If you’re unsure and are on one of our managed IT plans or a hosting plan with an email account you can message us for verification! Phishing emails usually look legitimate. If you receive an email that asks for your Social Security number, credit card number, or other sensitive information, don’t click on any links in the email or reply to it. Instead, go directly to the company’s website and log in to your account.

Onto pharming since it can affect your website directly.

Pharming is when hackers make you visit a fake website that looks like the real one, without you knowing it. They do this by messing with the system that tells your computer where to go on the internet, or by sneaking into your computer and changing its settings. They want you to enter your personal or financial information on the fake website, so they can steal it. Pharming is hard to spot because it happens behind the scenes, so you need to keep your security software updated, be careful when you share your information online, and always check if the website is secure and trustworthy.

A firewall can help protect your computer from unauthorized access, and antivirus software can help detect and remove malware.Be careful about what links you click on. Don’t click on links in emails or on websites unless you’re sure they’re legitimate. If you’re not sure, hover your mouse over the link to see the actual URL. If the URL doesn’t match the website you’re expecting, don’t click on it. Some browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, have built-in security features that can help protect you from pharming attacks.

Vishing is a little more nuanced and requires you to pick up the phone.

Vishing, short for “voice phishing,” is a type of cyber attack that occurs over the telephone or voice communication channels. In a vishing attack, scammers impersonate legitimate entities, such as banks, government agencies, or customer service representatives, to manipulate individuals into revealing sensitive information. The attackers use social engineering techniques to create a sense of urgency, fear, or trust to convince victims to disclose personal data, such as account numbers, passwords, or credit card details. They may also employ techniques like caller ID spoofing to make their calls appear more legitimate. 

If you don’t recognize the number we recommend you let it go to voicemail. If the caller asks for personal information such as social security number, credit card number, or other sensitive information then it’s most likely not a legitimate call as most companies would not call and request information over the phone. Don’t respond to any automated messages or prompts. Scammers will often use automated messages to ask you to press a button or have you speak to verify your identity. They can then reuse this information and gain access to your account.

Smishing deals with text messaging and one can quite easily be deceived by one of these nefarious attacks.

Smishing, a portmanteau of “SMS” and “phishing,” refers to a type of cyber attack conducted through text messages (SMS) or other messaging platforms. Similar to phishing and vishing, smishing aims to trick individuals into revealing personal information or taking harmful actions. Attackers typically send deceptive text messages that appear to be from reputable sources, such as banks, delivery services, or government agencies. The messages often contain urgent requests, enticing offers, or alarming warnings to manipulate recipients into clicking on malicious links, calling a fraudulent number, or providing sensitive information. These actions can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, or the installation of malware on the recipient’s device. 

To protect yourself from Smishing attacks, exercise caution when responding to unsolicited text messages, avoid clicking on suspicious links or sharing personal information through text messages, and verify the authenticity of the sender independently using official contact information.

Lancing Light LLC is in the business of protecting our customers from cyber threats. We use a variety of security measures to help protect our customers from phishing, pharming, vishing, and smishing attacks. These measures include:

We use a secure website: Our website is protected by a variety of security measures, including a firewall and antivirus software. We also build our customers websites with security measures baked in. 

We use strong passwords: We also require our customers to use strong passwords that are at least 12 characters long and include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Educating our customers: We educate our customers about cyber threats and how to protect themselves. If you’re interested in some more security information we have an article that covers some malware on Android to be aware of! Or maybe you’d be interested in a list of security mistakes to avoid with your website!

We are committed to protecting our customers from cyber threats. If you have any questions about our security measures and how we can help you, please contact us for a free consultation today!


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