In Matthew 4:18-20 (ESV) we read…
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Jesus is strolling along the beach, and he sees two brothers casting their nets into the sea for a catch of fish. He calls out to them to follow Him. He says he could teach them to become fishers of men. That must have sounded strange, but they dropped everything and followed Jesus. Obviously, Jesus was talking about casting the gospel net to catch men, women, boys, and girls for the eternal kingdom of God.
There is another type of phishing (pronounced ‘fishing’) for men that our office deals with in Information Technology. It sounds just like the term Jesus used. But, it’s intention is much different. In fact, it’s sinister in nature. With the help of our vendor, KnowBe4, we are educating our state missionary staff about the dangers of phishing scams. The following paragraph is from their website www.knowbe4.com.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is the process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity using bulk email which tries to evade spam filters. Emails claiming to be from popular social web sites, banks, auction sites, or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. It’s a form of criminally fraudulent social engineering.
How do you keep from being a victim?
Just as you ought to be very cautious when opening your home to a stranger, you ought to be very cautious about opening your PC, smartphone, tablet or other electronic devices to strangers. Generally, it is OK to open an email to look at its content, but if there is a link to click or an attachment to download then immediately throw a red caution flag in your mind.
Evaluate the email closely, even if it appears to have come from a friend, coworker, or relative. Did you request that email? Has it been forwarded several times? Move your mouse over the name of the person from whom it was sent to make sure the email address that appears is known and legitimate.
Check for signs of phishing
If you still cannot be sure the email is trustworthy, then call the sender to see if they sent the email or open and send a new email to the sender to ensure they sent it. You should avoid forwarding the email, as this could lead to malware being shared across computers.
Criminals are phishing for people who will unknowingly fall for their scam and click a link that will install a trojan or keylogger on your device. These trojans will monitor your every keystroke, so they can steal your identity, money, contacts and accounts. They are casting both targeted and widespread nets hoping to catch someone off-guard. This is a very real problem. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to personal cyber-attacks.
Also, be very aware that you can fall into the same trap when opening and passing along Facebook and Messenger posts and SMS texts that request you to forward them to all your friends or contacts.
It is crucial that your computer, smartphone, and other devices be protected with antivirus and anti-spyware applications. These applications should be installed, regularly run, and updated. We’ll talk more about these in a future blog. For now, BE AWARE so that you don’t get caught on the phisherman’s hook.
For more information on phishing scams, what to look for, and how not to fall for their tricks, then please visit the following websites: