How to Recognise and avoid Phishing attacks? Top 15 Tips

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Did you know that in Australia, cybercriminals have stolen personal credentials from more than 94,000 victims through phishing attacks using the platform LabHost? They use this tool to send you emails like:

     ” Subject: Urgent: Your Account Has Been Compromised!

     Dear Valued Customer,

     We have detected suspicious activity on your account. To protect your information, please      verify your identity by clicking the link below immediately:

     Verify Your Account

     If you do not verify your account within 24 hours, it will be permanently locked. “

And have you received an email like this? If yes, do not click on any links or provide any personal information. Scammers create emails that look suspicious or too good to be true. This is a phishing attempt designed to steal your sensitive information.

Similarly, cybercriminals use different techniques, from SMS to spear phishing, to deceive you and gain valuable information. This article will guide you through essential strategies to recognise and avoid a phishing attack effectively.

How are People Targeted in Phishing Scam?

Phishing attacks target individuals using various techniques to increase their chances of success. Attackers manipulate people’s behaviour through deceptive emails, messages, and impersonation to trick them into revealing sensitive information such as credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, or social security numbers.

Attackers often use mass targeting, spoofed identities, and social engineering to send generic emails or text messages to people, using deceptive subject lines or urgent requests to grab attention.

Common types of phishing attack techniques

Phishing attacks are a deceptive way for criminals to steal your personal information, login credentials, or financial details. Below are some prevalent types of phishing attacks:

  1. Email Phishing: Phoney emails that create urgency or fear, urging you to click malicious links in the email.  These links may lead to fraudulent websites that obtain personal data.
  2. Spear Phishing: Targeted emails aimed at specific individuals, often using personal details to appear more believable. They trick you into clicking bad links or attachments that steal your information.
  3. Whaling: A specific type of spear phishing targeting high-level executives like CEOs. They aim to steal sensitive company information or financial resources.
  4. Smishing: Phishing attacks are delivered via SMS text messages to your phone number. Similar to email phishing, they use urgency or fear to trick you into clicking links that lead to fake websites that steal your information.
  5. Vishing: Phishing done over the phone. Vishing calls often create a sense of urgency or fear, pressuring you to reveal personal information to the caller pretending to be from a trusted source.

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How to Recognise Phishing Attacks?

Phishing scams can take many forms, but there are common red flags to watch for:

1. Unexpected or Urgent Requests: Phishers often create a sense of urgency to prompt immediate action. Be especially cautious of emails or messages claiming there are issues with your account that require immediate attention. These could be attempts to trick you into giving away personal information quickly without thinking it through.

2. Suspicious Links and Attachments: Always hover your mouse over links to see where they actually lead before clicking on them. Often, the link’s destination will reveal if it’s a legitimate site or a fraudulent one. Similarly, avoid opening attachments from unknown or unexpected sources, as these may contain malware designed to infect your computer or steal your data.

3. Misspelled or Strange Email Addresses: Check the sender’s email domain carefully. Phishers frequently use email addresses that closely mimic legitimate ones but with subtle misspellings or unusual patterns. For example, an email might come from support@yourbonk.cominstead of” These small differences can indicate a phishing attempt.

4. Generic Greetings:  Be wary of messages that start with a generic greeting like “Dear Customer” or “Dear User” instead of your name. This impersonal touch is a common tactic in phishing emails because the attackers don’t have your personal information.

5. Requests for Personal or Financial Information: Legitimate companies will not ask for sensitive data via email. If you receive such a request, do not provide any information. Contact the company directly using a known and trusted method to verify the request.

Top 15 Tips to Avoid Falling Victim to Phishing Attacks

Stay Informed About Phishing Techniques

Educate yourself on the latest phishing tactics and trends by following reputable cybersecurity news and participating in security awareness training. For instance, in 2023, a new technique called “Social Media Impersonation” emerged, where scammers pose as influential figures online to trick users.

Think Before You Click

Never click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails. Always hover over links to check their destination before clicking, as a single impulsive click can lead to serious consequences, such as compromising your login credentials.

Install an Anti-Phishing Toolbar

Use anti-phishing toolbars available for popular browsers to identify and block known phishing sites. These tools provide real-time alerts and enhance your browsing security.

Also ReadHow Scammers Use Emails to Target Individuals and Organisations

Verify Site Security

Before entering sensitive information, ensure websites are secure by checking for “https” in the URL and a closed padlock icon.  These indicators show that the site encrypts your data, protecting it from interception.

Regularly Check Online Accounts

Monitor your online accounts frequently for any suspicious activities or transactions. Promptly report anything unusual to your financial institution or IT department to prevent unauthorised access.

Don’t Let Phishing Emails Fool Your Employees! Binary IT provides Phishing Attack Simulations to expose vulnerabilities and train your team to recognise scams. Contact us today.

Keep Your Browser Up to Date

Regularly update your web browser to receive the latest security patches. Outdated browsers are vulnerable to phishing attacks, so staying current minimises risks.

Utilise Firewalls

Activate both desktop and network firewalls to protect your device and network from unauthorised access. Firewalls monitor and control network traffic, blocking potential threats.

Beware of Pop-Ups

Disable pop-up windows or allow them only on trusted sites. Phishers use pop-ups to deceive users into providing personal information. Close suspicious pop-ups immediately.

Never Share Personal Information

Legitimate organisations will not request sensitive information via email or text. Verify the authenticity of any such request by contacting the organisation directly through official channels.

Also ReadThe Importance of Password Security

Use Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Enable MFA for your online accounts to add an extra layer of security. MFA requires additional verification, such as a one-time code sent to your mobile device, making unauthorised access more difficult.

Report Suspected Phishing Attempts

Report any suspicious emails or messages to your IT department or use online resources to help authorities take action. Reporting can prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.

Educate Others

Share your knowledge about phishing with friends, family, and colleagues. Educating others can strengthen collective online safety and encourage the adoption of preventive measures.

Use Strong, Unique Passwords

Generate complex passwords for each of your accounts and refrain from using them interchangeably across different platforms. Employing password managers can help you generate and securely store these passwords.

Also ReadCommon Password Mistakes in 2024

Be Wary of Urgent Requests

Phishing emails often create a sense of urgency. Verify urgent requests through a different communication channel before taking any action to avoid falling for surprise tactics.

Regular Security Awareness Training

Participate in security awareness training to stay updated on the latest threats and strategies to mitigate them. Training sessions with real-life examples enhance your ability to recognise phishing attempts.

What do I do if I get phished?

If you receive a suspicious email or message that could be a phishing attempt:

  1. Disconnect and Secure Your Device: Immediately disconnect your device from the internet to prevent further data loss. Run a full antivirus scan to detect and remove any malware that might have been installed.
  2. Change Your Passwords: Update the passwords on all of your internet accounts, particularly those that have been compromised. For extra security, set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) and create strong, one-of-a-kind passwords.
  3. Notify Relevant Parties: If your financial information was stolen, contact your bank or other financial organisations. If it was a work-related account, notify your workplace’s IT department. They can assist with account security and activity monitoring.


Phishing attacks are a persistent threat in the digital world, compromising all valuable credentials. Remember, caution is key. Don’t hesitate to double-check suspicious emails, verify website security, and keep your software up to date. By adopting these practices and spreading awareness, you can avoid phishing scams and strengthen your defence.

Don’t let cybercriminals catch you off guard. At Binary IT, our dedicated team will assess your cybersecurity needs and equip you with tailored solutions to safeguard both you and your business from online scams. Take control of your digital security—contact us now and stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.

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