Stop the Snowball: Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams Published Oct. 14, 2021 FORT MEADE, Md. -- Technology is the commonality between everything in our daily lives. Whether you’re checking email at home or in the office, or scrolling through social media, you’re connected. That access and freedom is a staple in our country’s advancements and successes, but we can’t forget about those trying to take advantage of it. Phishing is a prime example of that. Using email and social media, cyber criminals lure individuals to click on malicious links or attachments to collect personal and financial information, and infect your device with malware and viruses. Malware, short for malicious software, disrupts or damages device operations, allowing actors to gain access to the infected device. In some cases, cyber criminals use ransomware, a type of malware that gains access to a victim’s files (personal photos, financial records, etc.), locks and encrypts such files, and then demands that person pay ransom to get them back. Anyone can be a target, but there are ways to protect yourself and ensure the situation doesn’t snowball into something that can harm you, your family or friends. If you see a link or attachment that looks suspicious, scroll past it on social media or delete/mark it as junk via email Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately Use a passphrase that’s 12 characters long, and differentiate that phrase on work and personal accounts, at a minimum Log out of social media and email, and lock your device when leaving the work space More information, including resources and how you can continue to stay cyber smart, can be found at StaySafeOnline.org, hosted by the National Cybersecurity Alliance. If you have an interest in keeping the Nation safe from cyber threats, NSA Cybersecurity is the place for you! Our diverse team of problem solvers collaborate across industry and government to prevent and eradicate cyber threats. Join the mission – visit intelligence careers/NSA for current openings.