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Protect Yourself Online: Phishing URLs  

September 20, 2023

Protect Yourself Online: Phishing URLs  

We use the internet for countless activities, from shopping to banking to connecting with loved ones. However, with these conveniences comes a growing threat – phishing attacks. Phishing is a deceptive tactic used by cybercriminals to steal your sensitive information. One of the most common methods they employ is phishing URLs.  

What is a Phishing URL?   
A phishing URL is a web address designed to mimic a legitimate website. It is designed to trick you into revealing personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, or login credentials. These URLs often look convincing at first glance but are carefully crafted by cybercriminals to deceive you.  

Here are some tips to identify phishing URLs and protect yourself online:  

1. Examine the URL: Check the web address carefully. Phishing URLs often have subtle misspellings or additional characters. They might use variations of a legitimate domain name, like "" instead of "" Scrutinize the entire URL before clicking on any links.  

2. Look for HTTPS: Secure websites use https:// at the beginning of their URLs. Phishing sites may use http:// or lack the "s." Always ensure the website you're visiting is secure before sharing any personal information.  

3. Don't Trust Pop-Up Windows: Phishers often use pop-up windows that mimic legitimate sites to steal your information. Be cautious when entering data into pop-ups and close them if you're uncertain about their authenticity.  

4. Beware of Email Links: Be extra cautious when clicking on links in emails, especially if the message is unexpected or from an unknown sender. Hover your mouse over the link to see the actual URL before clicking.  

5. Check for SSL Certificates: Legitimate websites typically have SSL certificates that you can verify by clicking on the padlock icon in your browser's address bar. If this information is missing or seems suspicious, exit the website immediately.  

6. Be Skeptical of Urgent Requests: Phishers often create a sense of urgency, asking you to act quickly or risk losing access to your account. Take the time to verify the authenticity of any requests.  

7. Use a Password Manager: Password managers can help you detect and avoid phishing sites by auto-filling your login credentials only on legitimate websites. They also generate strong, unique passwords for each site you use.  

8. Check Twice: In some cases, legitimate emails may seem suspicious. For instance, the service GVSU uses for mass emails, Emma, will in some cases, use a URL shortener such as “” Please remember that Emma is indeed a GVSU app, and the URL includes “” so it is indeed valid.   

By staying vigilant and following these tips, you can significantly reduce your risk of phishing attacks. Remember, cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics, so it's essential to stay informed and cautious when navigating the online world. 

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Page last modified September 20, 2023