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Monday, February 11, 2008

Phishing Filter - How to Use Phishing Filters to Prevent Any Information Theft

A lot of people are actually still afraid of using computers due to the fact that they can have viruses and people can manipulate them in order to serve their purposes.

This argument actually holds true but there are actually different types of "manipulations" that people can do. This is where anti-viruses and viruses come into play and one of the most recent developments is creating phishing filters.

Phishing is the act of "fishing" information via the internet, there are a lot of ways to do this from emails to spywares, and people can access your computer and steal your information without you knowing it.

Normally the accounts that people try to phish are financial accounts that cannot be subjected to information trace - especially if they can keep you locked out long enough to get the money into a bank and run away with it.

The most common ones in the internet are Paypal and Ebay Accounts. Apart from the usual spyware tools, scammers are using simple emails targeted at unsuspecting users. These emails come with subject lines like: "Last Warning", "Password Change Required" or "Your account is suspended" and a whole lot more.

These e-mails would appear to have come from eBay or PayPal and provide a link to their own phishing page. Now these pages are designed just like the original pages and the unsuspecting user ends up providing his/her sensitive information like username/password or Credit Card Information to these duplicate pages.

That's why I would like to add one piece of advice to all users that you should always see where the link is taking you by seeing the tool tip and then if it takes you to your usual Paypal address, follow the link.

Now in order to avoid this e-mail to ever land in your inbox you need to use a phishing filter. One of the most common ones at the moment is the Bayesian Filter that allows you to blacklist or whitelist certain individuals. It also easily integrates to popular email clients such as MS outlook.

By using this filter 90% of these types of messages will not arrive in your inbox, thus greatly increasing your phishing protection and it saves you a lot of time.

The next thing you need to use is anti-spyware software. One good program available in the market is called ad-aware by lavasoft. It is always updated and it is extremely simple to use. It runs through your computer like a virus scan - except that it only looks for spyware, which most of the time is not recognized by your virus scan as a threat to your system. Just download it and run it at least once a week and it will prevent any kind of phishing spywares to enter your system.

Now, all you need to do is just to keep these programs updated to protect your information and continuous awareness over phishing issues will also help you to be ahead of the curve and keep the scammers at bay.

Author and internet entrepreneur Bernard Pragides offers expert advice and tips regarding identity theft. Learn more about identity theft and fraud by visiting his identity theft blog and his website for more helpful information.

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