Did you see anything interesting online last month? Between blog posts, gaming sites, Facebook updates and breaking news, there was a lot to take in. One thing you probably didn’t see — if you are on an OpenDNS-protected network — were Phishing attempts.

Since we block these scammy and fraudulent Web sites, you might not realize how prevalent they are across the Internet. In July alone, we blocked almost one million phishing attempts. That’s how many times people on OpenDNS-protected networks saw the “phishing attempt blocked” page.

Even with the work we do to make sure you’re protected from seeing phishing sites, we can’t always catch everything. If you ever see a Web site or receive an email and aren’t sure if it’s legitimate, we’ve got you covered:

Five Easy Ways to Spot A Phishing Attempt

  • Poor resolution: Phishing websites are often poor in quality, since they are created with urgency and have a short lifespan. If the resolution on a logo or in text strikes you as poor, be suspicious.
  • Forged URL: Even if a link has a name you recognize somewhere in it, it doesn’t mean it links to the real organization. Read URLs from right to left — the real domain is at the end of the URL. Also, websites where it is safe to enter personal information begin with “https” — the “s” stands for secure. If you don’t see “https” do not proceed. Look out for URLs that begin with an IP address, such as: http://12.34.56.78/firstgenericbank/account-update/ — these are likely phishes.
  • Generic greeting: Phishing emails are usually sent in large batches. To save time, Internet criminals use generic names like “First Bank Customer” so they don’t have to type all recipients’ names out and send emails one-by-one.
  • Requests personal information: The point of sending phishing email is to trick you into providing your personal information. If you receive an email requesting your personal information, it is probably a phishing attempt.
  • Sense of urgency: Internet criminals want you to provide your personal information now. They do this by making you think something has happened that requires you to act fast. The faster they get your information, the faster they can move on to another victim.

As always, we’re going to continue working on finding ways to improve the Internet and make it safer and smarter for our customers. For now, happy [and safe] surfing — and if you have a friend who could use protection from online phishing attempts, let them know about OpenDNS.

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