Our latest Hi Tech programme is all about phishing. Phishing is an attempt to gain sensitive information – passwords or bank details – by masquerading as a trustworthy website, bank, social network and so on.
To help us understand more, we spoke to French computer security expert Pierre Siaut.
euronews: “What is the scale of this phenomenon?”
M Siaut: “We estimate several tens of millions of phishing emails on a European level every year. The potential for victims is enormous. Every web user could be victim to a phishing attack.”
euronews: “If someone is the victim of an attack, what could the consequences be?”
M Siaut: “The consequences are many. Your email box could be taken over and scam mails could be sent to your friends and family, asking for money. Potentially it could go a lot further – if you have given banking information the hacker could use this to steal tens of thousands of euros from you.
“In one case of phishing on Paypal, if you look at the email address you see the domain is qpal.it. Not at all the same as Paypal. If you click on the link which asks us to fill out some information, you return to a Paypal page – very well done.
“It is going to ask us to sign in, prove ourselves with our email address and password. But when you look at the URL, it doesn’t match at all – it is a website which has been re-routed for phishing.
“And to finish look at this phishing mail on Linkedin. Again – elementary rule – the email address. The domain doesn’t correspond at all, it didn’t come from Linkedin and if we look in more detail, even if it is supposed to look like a genuine email, it isn’t the same at all.”
euronews: “So how can we protect ourselves from these fake emails?”
M Siaut: “First of all be suspicious of every email received. By definition we can receive emails from people we don’t know but also from friends, who might themselves have had their email account hacked.”
euronews: “Another suggestion…?”
M Siaut: “No genuine business will ask you for personal details by email.”
euronews: “So we should never provide, for example, our secret codes to access e-mail?”
M Siaut: “You should never send authentication type information – your login, email address, password because then the hackers can use all that to target your friends, family and colleagues with phishing campiagns and other types of scams.”
euronews: “Another suggestion…?”
M Siaut: “Do not hesitate to flag up in a suspicious case a phishing email to the access provider level, cybercrime sections at the local police or associations that deal with security solutions. That is their job, they are there for that.”
euronews: “And your final suggestion?”
M Siaut: “Don’t open an attachment from someone you don’t know. They can contain viruses, phishing campaigns and lots of other stuff. You could take that advice further and not open attachments at all, even if they’re from friends, colleagues or family.”
euronews: “So when can we finally open an attachment in total safety?”
M Siaut: “Once you have really checked the sender, either spoken to them, called them or texted them.”
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