Protecting yourself from phishing

Regular contributor Howie Mirkin has sent in an excellent suggestion for reducing the chance of having your confidential information stolen through a phishing scam. Howie writes, "I get a lot of security newsletters that discuss phishing and in virtually every one of them the emphasis is on how to identify fake web sites or how to spot a fake (phishing) email. This is all too hard – these fake sites and emails are just too good. It’s much easier to focus on getting to the correct site rather than trying to identify a fake one. All users need do is bookmark (add to favorites) all the web sites where they conducts financial transactions and use these bookmarks whenever theyneed to access these sites rather than the links contained in any email." Howie goes on to note that the best way to bookmark these sites is to login to the site and bookmark the opening page. This will inevitably be a secure https page. If at a later time you use the bookmark you will automatically be asked to login from a secure page. Howie’s suggestion makes a great deal of sense and if followed would almost eliminate the possibility of being defrauded. Me, if I get a request from a financial institution I adopt the practice suggested by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and telephone the institution for confirmation. Just make sure you use the number in the phone directory is not the one in the email. :>) More details here:
http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/phishing.htm

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2007-02-22: