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Google Phishing Scam Proves Growing Cybersecurity Threats: 6 Tips to Stay Protected

By Seth Nadel, eCommerce Technology Analyst, Information Technologies

This week, a Google phishing scam impacted 1 billion Gmail users by compromising email security and exposing personal information. Affinity would like to take the time to remind everyone of a few cybersecurity tips to protect against these growing threats.

First things first: What on Earth is a phishing scam? Phishing scams are caused by fraudulent emails that appear to come from a legitimate source – a friend or family member, or even a business or organization you interact with frequently – but directs you to a spoofed website, often tricking you into entering personal information like credit card details.

However, the latest Google phishing scam proves how advanced cybersecurity threats have become. It didn’t even require users to enter personal information or passwords to infiltrate their emails. A simple click to allow a fake Google Doc to access emails is all it took.

Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to cybersecurity attacks. Here are a few tips to help keep your accounts and identity safe from prying eyes.

1. If you weren’t expecting the email, delete it. Even if it looks like it was sent from someone you know, verify its legitimacy before clicking any links or opening the attachments.

2. Look for spelling or grammatical errors. Legitimate messages, especially from a brand are often scrutinized before going out to customers. If you catch a mistake, think twice before opening the email.

3. If it seems odd that you’re asked for personal information, skip it. Trustworthy organizations will never ask for personal or sensitive information via email. Keep your personal information personal.

4. Create a strong password. A combination of upper-case characters, lower-case characters, numbers and symbols in a random order will make your password hard to guess, and tough to crack. If you’re worried about remembering your passwords, make sure to write them down in a safe place.

5. Aim to complete all sensitive online activity at home. This helps ensure you’re using a protected, private server. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. If you are caught in a situation where you must use public Wi-Fi, be sure to use a VPN prior to browsing.

6. Turn on two factor authentication (2FA) for all accounts. It helps protect your account in the event of a compromised password by requiring an additional, one time passcode to log in.

With new cybersecurity attacks and methods on the rise, it’s important to be vigilant. Remember: always think before you

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