Guide: How to Avoid Phishing Attempts

Découvrez le phishing, une tactique de cyberescroquerie visant à voler vos infos sensibles. Apprenez à vous protéger de cette menace courante.
Mathieu Le Bihan
October 6, 2023

Qu'est-ce que le Phishing ?

This technique is far from the relaxing fishing activity some of us enjoy. Instead, it's used by scammers to entice you into sharing sensitive information, such as passwords or bank card numbers. Designed by malicious individuals on the web, the aim of phishing is to trap you. The term itself is derived from the English word "fishing," reflecting the tactic's goal of catching victims. It draws inspiration from the early hacking techniques known as "phreaking." In this dangerous digital world, the hooks are deceptive emails or messages, and we, the users, are the fish potentially caught in the net.

A Significant and Varied Threat

The impact of phishing can be devastating, ranging from identity theft to the loss of significant funds and the exposure of sensitive personal information. It's not just about misleading emails; it's a threat that can truly turn lives upside down. That's why understanding the different forms of phishing is crucial for effective protection.

It's also important to note that phishing can manifest in several forms, each with its own tactics and targets.

Email Phishing

This is the most traditional form. You receive an email that appears to be from your bank or a service you regularly use. On closer inspection, you'll notice that these emails often direct you to fake websites designed to steal your information.

Spear Phishing

In this case, the scammers have done their homework on you. They send messages specifically tailored to you, using information they've gathered from various sources. It's like receiving a personalized letter, but with malicious intent.


Even your text messages are not safe. This technique involves sending you a tantalizing text message, often offering a "free gift." If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.


This variant involves the use of the phone. You might receive a call from a number that appears legitimate, such as from your bank, asking you to confirm personal information.


This is the big brother of spear phishing, targeting the "big fish" like CEOs or CFOs. Cybercriminals aim high, hoping to catch a "whale" for even bigger gains.

In summary, each technique has its own tricks, but the goal is always the same: to deceive you into giving away valuable information.

How Does Phishing Work?

Let's delve into the specific tricks these cybercriminals use to deceive the public.

The Digital Chameleon

First, there's the technique where scammers become digital chameleons. They perfectly mimic popular websites, be it your bank, your favorite streaming service, or even your social media platform. But, even if everything looks normal at first glance, these sites are actually traps designed to steal your information.

Fake ING page phishing attempt example

The Art of URL Deception

Next, there's the art of deception with URLs. A small modification, like changing an "o" to "0" or an "l" to "1," and suddenly you find yourself on a malicious site without even realizing it. It's akin to tripping over a stone on a path you thought you knew by heart.

Trapped Attachments

And let's talk about attachments. You receive an email, perhaps from a "colleague," with a file that seems entirely ordinary. But, like opening Pandora's box, opening this attachment could unleash all sorts of malware on your computer. It's always good to remember not to open unexpected attachments.

Fake Login Forms

Another trick up these cybercriminals' sleeves is fake login forms. They look indistinguishable from the ones you use every day. But, instead of granting access to your account, they capture your credentials. If you feel that little internal alarm telling you something's not right, listen to it and check the URL (the web page address you're visiting).

Playing on Emotions

Lastly, scammers love to play on our emotions. They might send you alarming messages about a "security alert" or "unauthorized access" to your account. Their goal? To push you to act impulsively, to click on that link that seems to be the solution to your problem. But in reality, the real trouble starts the moment you click.

Phishing attempts often lead to ransomware-type malware.

To learn more about ransomware, check out our complete guide here.

How to Protect Yourself

Prevention is key to protecting against threats like phishing. Just as you lock your door when you leave your home, there are steps you can take to secure your digital space. But how do you specifically prevent phishing?

Never Share Sensitive Information via Email

First and foremost, it's crucial to keep in mind that you should never share sensitive information via email. If an entity, even a familiar one, asks for personal or financial details via email, be skeptical. Resist the urge to click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious sources. It's always better to contact the organization directly through a secure means to confirm the request.

Anti-Phishing Filters

Next, using anti-phishing filters can greatly reduce the risk. These filters, often integrated into web browsers and email software, can identify and block phishing attempts before they even reach your inbox.

Monitor Your Bank Statements

Additionally, regularly checking your bank statements is wise. If you spot any suspicious transactions, you can quickly detect and take necessary actions to protect your finances.

Software Updates

Regularly updating your software and operating systems is also crucial. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software. By keeping everything up-to-date, you reduce potential entry points for attackers.

Training and Awareness

If you're looking to raise your team's awareness about the risks of Phishing, contact us. We can set up a cybersecurity policy and a training process tailored to your needs. 🛡️

Tools and Extensions for Daily Vigilance

There are many URL verification services like Google Safe Browsing, PhishTank, or URLVoid, to name just a few. These services allow you to enter a web address and check if it's safe or has been reported as malicious.

Browser Extensions

Then, consider browser extensions specifically designed for phishing detection. These extensions monitor the sites you visit and alert you if you venture onto a potentially dangerous site. There are many available, including WOT (Web of Trust), Bitdefender TrafficLight, Netcraft Extension, and PhishDetext. Feel free to ask us questions or for recommendations.

Report Phishing Attempts

Finally, if you come across a phishing attempt or if you're a victim of such an attack, it's essential to know where and how to report it. Many organizations, like banks and internet service providers, have dedicated channels for reporting these incidents. By reporting an attempt, you not only help protect others but also strengthen defenses against these threats.

What to Do in Case of a Successful Attack?If you believe your information has been compromised, don't panic. Quick action can not only limit the damage but also put you back on the path to security. Here are the essential steps:

Change Passwords

Start by immediately changing the passwords of any affected accounts. Also, be sure to update security questions, if applicable.

Alert Bank and Credit Cards

Contact your bank and the issuers of your credit cards to inform them of the situation. They can monitor your account for suspicious activity and, if necessary, cancel or replace your cards.

Credit Monitoring

Consider subscribing to a credit monitoring service, or at least, check your credit reports for any unusual activity.

Security Scans

Perform a full scan of your computer and mobile devices using reliable antivirus software, to ensure


Don't forget to report the incident to the relevant authorities and platforms. Your feedback can help protect others.

Info Scams : 0805805817 (free)

Security Settings Review

After managing the emergency, take the time to review your security settings on all your online accounts. Enable two-factor authentication where possible.

By following these steps, you minimize risks and contribute to strengthening your overall security. Prevention is better than cure, but if harm is done, quick action is your best defense.


Phishing is a Prelude to More Serious AttacksNow, you are equipped with the essential knowledge to understand what a phishing attack is, how to protect yourself, and the measures to take if ever you are affected. But remember, prevention is key. Training your entire team should be a priority, as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Cybersecurity is a journey, not a destination. And phishing is just the tip of the iceberg. Often, these attacks are a prelude to more complex malware, like ransomware. Good news, we also have a complete guide on the topic of ransomware to help you further strengthen your protection.

Découvrez comment Qontrol peut transformer votre gestion de la cybersécurité.

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