To protect you from numerous cyber-threats there is a lot of amazing software available that enhances your security and privacy. So much that when all necassary settings and software are correct the human behind the keyboard is often the weakest link for online security.
Sounds harsh but research from Proof Point shows that changing patterns in phishing is even making it more difficult for middle mangers in finance and sales to avoid clicking on spam. Techniques are constantly changing, older ones are updated or altered and while technology keeps pace, user knowledge doesn't get the same regular updates.
Phishing is when cyber-criminals imitate trusted organisation to fool targets into revealing personal information e.g. credit card details.
Of course technology can still fail as it takes time for spam filters to update to identify new patterns in phishing. The research which focused on companies found that 96% of clicks on spam occur within the first week. In total about 4% of phishing attempts are clicked on.
You've got to keep up with the changing threats
Education is important to help users to identify potential threats but it also has its limitations as spammers update their techniques and even take advantage of human nature. Spam mails are often targeted to arrive at peak times when people might be more inclined to miss the indicators that a message is spam due to time pressure. The style of phishing is also constantly changing with attachments replacing URLs as one of the main forms of click through and while social media invites or false website confirmation emails remain popular they're joined by newer techniques such as imitating voicemail message alerts.
Staying ahead of hackers and cybercriminals is a constant a battle. Technology plays a very important role but you still have to educate yourself about these threats, how they function and whether the software you are using is sufficient to protect you.
Where to start
The most important things you need to stay safe online are a good anti-virus, a firewall and a VPN. All the majors email providers come with spam filters but it's important that you use them properly to make them more effective, by marking emails that shouldn't have made it through the filter as spam for example. It's similar reason why it's so important to keep anti-virus software up to date as each new updates adds new threat detection techniques.
A good VPN like ZenMate helps hide personal data that spammers use to target users. Our simple browser add-on and smartphone app hides your IP, encrypts your internet connection and can help you avoid geo-restrictions. VPNs are growing in importance for security as the internet becomes more mobile and people connect regularly to public wifi networks. Public wifi is a major risk as they often lack effective security, can be imitated or the data can be intercepted during transfer. ZenMate encrypts the data during transfer improving your security.