Phishing remains one of the biggest threats to our online security.
“90 percent of data breaches start with phishing,” said Michael Sinno, a security enginner at Google.
He drops the surprising study that Gen Z is three times more likely to fall for an online scam than their grandparents. In fact, last year, scammers made off with more than $200 million dollars from people under 20. That’s up from $8 million in 2017.
“Young people are spending more and more time online in different apps in different ways and scammers are honestly adjusting to learn their habits,” said Sinno.
Scams are often financially motivated. Criminals want personal information like social security numbers, credit cards, and bank details. Don’t assume you aren’t a target.
Your first line of defense: education. Just knowing how to spot a bougus email, text or link can protect you from becoming a victim.
“If you’re not sure of the link, don’t click it,” said Sinno.
Instead, contact the company directly using a trusted phone number or website.
“The biggest tip is don’t give out anything unless you know exactly who you’re talking to,” said Sinno.
Other ways to protect yourself include using a password manager along with two factor authentication. It might be intimidating to set up, but once it’s done, it can generate strong passwords and log you into websites automatically.
A new tool is called passkeys. Google is asking users to enable them for a more secure login. So are companies including Uber, eBay and others.
Passkeys turn your phone into an authentication device. When it’s time to log in, you don’t enter a password, instead, you “login” on your phone by scanning your fingerprint, doing Face ID or entering your PIN.
The system is much more phishing resistant since there’s no password exchanged.
“Obviously nothing is perfect, but this is about the best defense we have,” concluded Sinno.
Google has a website at safety.google that’s filled with more tips, information on passkeys and even a secuirty checkup.