Phishing attack hits Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail email accounts

Tuesday October 13, 2009 at 11:49am
Recently in the press have been reports of 30,000 names and passwords from Hotmail, Google and Yahoo web mail accounts being posted online on a forum.

How these account details were found out appears to be from an industry wide phishing scam which is spreading further according to experts.

Phishing is a diverse and sophisticated set of methods that trick people into parting with their personal data – login details, passwords, bank account details etc. Usually a phishing attempt will direct a user to a “spoof” website that is designed to look like a legitimate site, but will capture anything the user enters. Unbespecting visitors may enter their genuine account details which are recorded by the hackers.

Victims may also have been part of a key logging attack. This is a piece of computer code which simply stores each and every key stroke on your keyboard. This software can be hidden within an email attachment, be downloaded from a “spoof” website or masquerade itself as another kind of program.

Tips to avoid being phished?
First of all you need to make sure that you have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed. Make sure that you use a firewall, spam filter and security software that is active while you are browsing. Its also a good idea to ensure your computer is set to install Windows Updates automatically.

Always be wary of the source of emails and the websites that they may attempt to send you to. If you are going to be passing over sensitive information make sure that the web address is located on a secure server. The start of the address should read https:// with the s standing for secure.

Try to avoid keeping any passwords on your computer and disclosing them to anybody. Before you open an email attachment or save one, be sure that it is from a genuine source. If you are in any doubt then don’t open it.

If you are accessing banking details from a computer that is used by other people, ensure you do not click on “save” password, as another user could gain access. Also regularly check your bank statements and receipts carefully to ensure there are no fraudulent transactions.

What Zarr can do for you
The majority of phishing occurs from emails and Zarr can provide you with extensive virus, phishing and spam filtering for your email. To illustrate how good it is, each day we handle over 700,000 emails with less than 3% of these being genuine emails. The remainder are viruses, trojans, phishing emails or just plain old spam.

The beauty of this service is that it doesn't require you to do any changes to your Outlook and it can cost less than £30 a year per employee - a small price to pay for that added security and piece of mind.

To find out more about how Zarr can help you to improve the security of your email, please contact us.
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