October 25, 2006

Three ways to detect a phisherman

There are plenty of forged emails about.
Are the explanations of how to detect them clear enough for the average user?
Of do they just increase fear uncertainly & doubt?

Three ways I use to detect a forgery

  1. (a bit obvious) do you have an account with the organisation concerned?
  2. is the English rather crap (hackers aren’t very literate, even in their mother tongue)?
  3. (a dead give away) is the real address of the link nothing like the one it looks like? E.g https://www.halifax-online.co.uk/_mem_bin/formslogins.asp
    is nothing like

(use left right-click on a link to find the “properties” and thus the real address)

- 3 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Lee Davis

    I use an email client that doesn’t render html pages, this tends to make them even more obvious. (Don’t get me started on how emails should be plain text anyway).
    Additionally I create new email names for any online accounts I sign up to so anything which is addressed say to my paypal address is not going to be from my bank, regardless of how genuine it looks. My paypal address gets loads of spam despite me only ever having used it once to buy a new laptop battery off ebay about 3 years ago, so no prizes for guessing how that one got onto the spamlists.

    25 Oct 2006, 11:05

  2. Steve Rumsby

    use left click on a link to find the real address

    Er, that will follow the link, won’t it? Which is exactly what you don’t want to do. In both IE and Firefox, if you just hover over a link the real address – i.e. the place you’ll go to if you do click on it – will appear in the status bar.

    25 Oct 2006, 11:07

  3. Yes where I wrote “left click” I should have written right-click. And yes hovering is better.

    As I use my right hand for writing, I use my left hand for the mouse, which means my mouse’s left button is “right-click”

    No wonder people get baffled by techo-babble

    25 Oct 2006, 12:10

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