Phishing attacks are bad. Everybody can agree on that (except the hackers who make a living from phishing).
But if you want to protect yourself from being exploited, antivirus software generally can’t help. Only a few of today’s antivirus programs offer phishing protection. And even these programs can be frighteningly lax in terms of detecting and warning users about phishing attacks.
So what’s the best way to prevent your identity from being stolen? According to a recent study, Google Chrome might be all you need. Google’s flagship internet browser came first in a recent test by NSS Labs, where it detected and prevented 94% of phishing attacks.
That 94% figure is pretty good when you consider how sneaky today’s phishing attacks can be. A phishing attack can be as simple as visiting a website that looks trustworthy and entering an email address or password. Once that happens, your identity could be stolen, resulting in lost access to your bank accounts, among other problems.
But 94% doesn’t seem too ridiculously high when you consider the fact that other internet browsers averaged a score of 90%. Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 10 all scored between 90% and 92%, so you can’t really go wrong no matter what browser you’re using.
Authorities are also getting better at shutting down phishing sites – or at least preventing users from accessing them. The study also revealed that the average phishing site lasts for just a single day, and the internet is home to about 50,000 phishing sites at any one moment.
How to protect yourself from phishing using your browser and your wits
Follow these tips to ensure your computer stays as protected as possible from phishing attacks:
-Use Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer 10, all of which performed about equally as well on a recent security test
-Always look at the website of the URL you’re visiting prior to entering any personal information. If the URL doesn’t appear to be the URL of the website you’re actually visiting, then leave. It’s a phishing site disguised as a legitimate site – like your bank, for example.
-Treat every email with suspicion and assume every website on the internet is out to steal your information until you can prove they’re legitimate. Your friends might think you’re paranoid but you’ll be far less susceptible to identity theft.
-Understand that phishing attacks aren’t the only problem affecting users. In fact, NSS Labs also looked at how effective browsers were at protecting users from other threats – like drive-by malware and web-based Trojans. That study revealed that Internet Explorer 10 protected users from an astounding 99.1% of threats while Chrome managed a meager 70.4%. Meanwhile, Safari and Firefox clocked in at a pathetic 4.3% and 4.2% respectively.
So the moral of this story? The best browser for protecting yourself from phishing attacks and other dangerous types of malware is Internet Explorer 10 or Google Chrome. If you use either of those two browsers, you should be relatively safe on your internet travels.