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You may have heard of a term called “phishing” or perhaps even its counterpart, “spear phishing”. While these terms sound like something you might do outdoors, they are different. However, they do share some similarities, which we will explain shortly. Phishing and spear phishing are schemes to trick you into providing sensitive information or allowing access to your files or PC. Learning to defend against phishing and spear phishing will help keep you and your information safe.


Much like fishing, phishing is where a thief throws out a line in the form of an email, text or any other type of message (such as Facebook Messenger) either asking for information or with a malicious link. When this link is clicked, a variety of things can happen. The thief could gain access to your device, thus granting them access to your personal information. Credit cards, bank accounts or any other important information that you store on your device would be at risk. You could become a victim of ransomware, which is where your personal files will be encrypted and cannot be accessed until you pay the hacker their requested ransom.

Spear Phishing

Spear fishing (with an actual spear, aiming for an actual fish) requires much more precision than standard fishing. This is the same with spear phishing compared to phishing. While spear phishing is still phishing, it is much more personalized. Instead of messages from random people or companies, you will receive messages that are meant to deceive you into believing they are from a trusted source. These messages can be very convincing and often look extremely valid.

What To Look Out For

  • Any message that asks you to reply with any personal information.
  • Any links or attachments from sources which you are unsure about.
  • Messages which threaten you or try to scare you into providing information.

How To Avoid Becoming A Victim

  • Do not provide any personal information through an e-mail and never click a link or download an attachment unless you are 100% sure the source is legitimate.
  • Instead of replying to emails which ask for information, call the business, family member, friend or acquaintance who sent the message.
  • Unless you know for a fact that an email or message is legitimate, you can never be too safe. It is better to take a few extra steps in order to protect yourself than to risk becoming a victim.

We hope that this information will help you defend against phishing and spear phishing attacks. Your information is the key criminals need to steal your identity, your time, your money and possibly even your sanity.

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