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Phishing attacks explained: 2 minute guide for beginners

Phishing attacks explained: 2 minute guide for beginners

Learn the basics of phishing, so you don’t get reeled in!

Have you ever received an email with the subject line “ACTION REQUIRED!” on a topic you’ve never heard of? This could be the sign of a phishing attack.

Being able to identify it and know how to react could prevent you from giving away private information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details.

Get savvy to how cyber criminals go phishing for data with this crucial quick-read…

What is a phishing attack?

Phishing is a type of cyber attack that leverages social engineering techniques. It manipulates you into giving away private information by impersonating a trusted person or company like a bank or colleague.

Phishing attacks can happen via email, phone calls, texts and social media. They are designed to bait you into clicking on a malicious link or opening a malicious file.

A more sophisticated type of phishing attack is known as spear fishing. This attack is targeted towards a specific person, making it more believable and effective.

Who do phishing attacks target?

Phishing attacks can happen to anyone and they normally occur on a large scale. The more phishing emails that are sent out, the better chance there is that someone will fall for it.

Within companies, the human resources, financial, and legal departments are the most likely to be targeted by phishing attacks. This is because they are required to open files, such as CV’s from unknown senders, and have access to private and sensitive information.

What to do if you come across a phishing attack?

Phishing attacks vary in their level of believability, but if you have any doubt about an email, it is best not to trust it.

While receiving a phishing email may not always be avoidable, there are ways to avoid falling victim to the scam and preventing others from doing the same. If you are suspicious of an email you should:

  • Avoid opening it and clicking on any unknown links or files.
  • Make your peers aware of the scam.
  • Delete it immediately.

Now that you’ve developed an overview on phishing, boost your skills and stay cyber savvy by playing CyberStart. There are challenges and games that help you spot phishing attacks and stay one step ahead of cyber criminals!

All of these programmes are entirely free, and feature CyberStart!

CyberStart America

What is it?

A fun programme developed to help you discover your talent, advance your skills and win scholarships in cyber security.

Who's it for?

13-18 year old high school students in the US only.

Awesome! How can I find out more?

Cyber FastTrack

What is it?

The fastest and most cost-effective route to a career in cyber security via free training and exclusive scholarship opportunities.

Who's it for?

College students in the US only.

Great! How can I find out more?

CyberStart Canada

What is it?

A free programme teaching cyber security to high school students in Canada through CyberStart's immersive learning platform.

Who's it for?

Students between the ages of 13-18 in Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia.

Nice! How can I find out more?