So you fancy yourself something of a digital native. The online scams, misinformation, and questionable investment opportunities that plague your parents’ generation are mere chaff to be brushed aside as you go about your business harvesting and consuming that delicious internet content.
But, and we know this is painful to even consider, what if you’re not the suave web-warrior you believe yourself to be? What if, instead, you too are just one click away from losing your digital life to a phishing scam? Thankfully, a new internet security quiz from Google and Alphabet subsidiary Jigsaw is here to help answer that very question.
“Identifying phishing can be harder than you think,” the quiz landing page declares. “Phishing is an attempt to trick you into giving up your personal information by pretending to be someone you know. Can you tell what’s fake?”
The eight-question quiz asks the respondent to create a fake name and email, and then presents realistic scenarios which may or may not be a phishing attempt. Can you tell what is “real,” and what link is secretly trying to steal your login credentials?
One pretend email, for example, purports to include a link to a Google doc. “Hey there,” reads the accompanying text. “Here is the doc you asked for.”
However, if you hover your mouse over the “Open in Docs” button, you see that the associated link is “http://drive—google.com/luke.johnson.” This is not a real Google Drive address, and, despite the relatively convincing formatting of the email, betrays the entire thing as a phishing attempt.
While it may be tempting to dismiss all this out of hand — you would never fall for anything as ham-fisted as a bogus email, right? — it’s worth remembering that successful phishing efforts cause real damage. Spending a few minutes on the quiz serves as a friendly reminder that maybe, just maybe, you should be taking the time to think about your internet security.
And even if you score a perfect eight out of eight, don’t pat yourself on the back too hard. Remember, in this case you were specifically primed to look for phishing attempts. The hacker trying to gain access to your email account won’t be so kind as to offer you the same heads up.