Emailing or texting are the essential factors of our day-to-day life. But what do you do if criminals use this essential thing as a tool to steal your data? Yes, scammers can utilize your emails and text messages as a source of personal data breaching. Phishing is a trick that can help scammers to steal your banking or financial details. If you want to save your data from scammers, you must know some basic information about phishing.
Recognizing the phishing attack is the initial step that can help you to escape the danger. However, by gathering some basic knowledge about Phishing and the way of prevention, you can escape the chances of data breaching.
An individual victim of a phishing scam may face dire consequences like unauthorized purchases, identity theft and stolen funds. However, when phishing changes to long term attacks like an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat), the consequences are much more severe. These types of attacks are targeted mostly at organizations or businesses where the attackers infiltrate the networks and stay in the background collecting as much information as possible. An organization that falls under this type of attack usually faces high financial losses, loss of reputation and consumer trust.
However, this article is going to provide comprehensive details on phishing and how to recognize a phishing attack. So let's take a look at the following section now as we’ve comprised a 360 guide here on phishing.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is an act of cyber fraud or an online scam. Cyber scammers steal the personal information of a person via different electronic community platforms like text messages, email, etc. Phishing can help scammers to gather some confidential information such as bank details, the details of your credit card, your password, and the username of a different social networking site and network credentials. As a result, you can get into several troubles.
Scammers use different phishing tricks to steal your personal data. So, you should be aware of different ways of phishing, such as:
- Email phishing: This is one of the most common and the easiest types of phishing techniques to get data from users without them knowing. These attacks can happen when an email is sent through a familiar name or by sending an email impersonating your superiors or by impersonating an organization. Just by seeing the name of the email and the urgency of the mail, users tend to click on the link.
- URL Phishing: The attack is based on sending the phishing page URL to the victims directly. This has a higher chance of getting opened because people are prone to click on links out of sheer curiosity, always ready to accept friend requests and messages. The attackers will send the link in numerous ways in order to trick the victim into clicking the link.
- Website spoofing: Website spoofing is similar to email spoofing; however, a lot more work has to be done into pulling this off. This is done by copying the design, content and user interface of a legitimate website and having a very similar URL. Once the victim is on the site, they will provide their data directly to the attackers.
- Spear phishing: Spear phishing is a trick that helps scammers to target an individual person.
- Smishing: Smishing is a way of phishing that can be done via SMS; it is considered an act of text messaging fraud. Scammers can reveal your confidential data by installing malware on your device.
- Man in the middle attack: A man in the middle attack takes place between 3 entities where two are legitimate entities and the third party eavesdropping on them. The MiTM will have the possibility to see the conversations and collect sensitive information from both parties.
- Whaling: If you are working as a senior executive of a business organization, then you must be aware of whaling. This digitally enabled way of scamming may encourage you to perform several secondary actions like inaugurating a digital transaction.
- Clone phishing: The clone phishing can be planned while utilizing any formerly sent emails which are contained with Trojan links or attachment. In a clone-phishing attack, the hackers make an almost identical copy of a previously received email containing any link or attachment. The link/attachment is replaced with the malicious link or attachment. This email is forwarded to the contacts of the victim’s inbox. This is really dangerous because the victim will never suspect that the email is fake.
- Evil twin phishing: You can get into this trouble by accessing a fraudulent Wi-Fi point. It interrupts digital communication; therefore, scammers can easily access your confidential data.
- Malware injection happens when malware is injected to a victim through emails. It’s a very common type of phishing attack. The usual objectives of a malware attack is to: Hijack a user’s computer, steal sensitive information, conduct illegal activities or launch a DDoS attack.
How to recognize a phishing attack?
If you get to know how to recognize a phishing attack, it will help you avoid the problem at an initial stage. So, go through this section to know the early signs of recognizing phishing scams.
If there are attachments in your email that you didn’t expect or don’t make sense, do not open them. These attachments might contain malware which includes viruses, ransomware and spyware. The scammers utilize emails and text messages as the major weapon of phishing. Most phishing text messages and emails appear as a form of messages from a trustworthy company such as Credit Card Company, online shopping stores, e-commerce applications, etc.
Sense of urgency
This is one of the tactics used by “Phishers” where they ask user’s to act fast in order to get the limited time offer. Sometimes they request users to update their account details in a limited time, or else it will be suspended. If you receive these kinds of emails, ignore them. All reliable businesses will give ample amount of time before terminating their accounts.
However, if you’re in doubt, go to the official website and check it for yourself without clicking on any links in the email.
Too good to be true
You can recognize phishing emails or text messages with some signs. Most of it comes as a form of exciting offers; this is a trick of the scammers to encourage you to click on that link or attachment. You can recognize phishing emails or text messages with some signs. Most of it comes as a form of exciting offers; this is a trick of the scammers to encourage you to click on that link or attachment. Lucrative offers, attention-grabbing statements and visually pleasing information are intended to draw in victims. Many emails, notifications and pop-ups appear where it shows that you have won an iPhone, a lottery or a lavish prize. Don’t click on these links because if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!!
Unwanted login attempts
You may find some weird log-in attempts in these links. It will surely ask for your personal information; without the confirmation of your personal details, you can't access it. Sometimes, it may include some fake invoice. If you got any text messages or emails while saying that you are adequate to register yourself for a government refund, then never click on that link or attachment. This is a form of a phishing scam. If you got any spam messages or links, it would want you to click on the payment. These are the signs of phishing attacks.
When you see a hyperlink, it might not always be what it seems. Hovering over the links on websites and emails will show you exactly what the URL is. It might say something else, whereas you will end up in a completely different place once you click. As the saying goes, ‘don’t judge a book by the cover’ works in the digital world too.
If you get emails or messages from an unusual sender, avoid them completely. If it’s from someone that you know, but still the context and the message seems sketchy, then the best way is to avoid it. If the content and the message is suspicious, avoid them completely. In most cases, it has been found that the scam messages appear while saying that your account is dealing with some billing issues; that's why the company has held your account. However, these are some signs of scam messages. You can escape the phishing attack while recognizing all these early signs.
How to prevent Phishing?
Luckily, several ways can assist you to prevent phishing. Here we will provide some tips and tricks to help you escape the brutal force of phishing.
So, take a look at the suggestions that are endowed with the below section.
Know the way of phishing
With the advancement of technology, scammers have found various advanced methods for phishing. Though, you may find some common factors in it, which can aid you to recognize the way of phishing tricks. You can enhance your knowledge of the latest tricks of phishing attacks through the internet. You can also get several information from here to recognize the initial signs of phishing. However, all this information will support you to escape the issue.
Avoid clicking random links
As we mentioned, the scammer may attack you through several malicious links, so we advise you not to click on random links. If you know the sender of that link, you should avoid it. Sometimes, the scammers send some cloned URL via email and text messages which look like a genuine website. However, while clicking on it, you will fall into the trap of scammers.
Obtain some anti-phishing add ons
You can escape the danger by obtaining anti-phishing add ons. You can access many web browsers that are enabled with free anti-phishing add ons. While obtaining all these add-ons, you can prevent phishing.
Never share your personal information with unconfined websites
While accessing any website, you must check some padlock icons, which you can find followed by the URL. If the website does not begin with "http", then get into that website. You must avoid downloading anything from that website. We hope you never compromise to protect your personal information, so never enter any personal data on these types of websites.
Change the password frequently
Rotating the password of your online account will aid you to prevent phishing. You must practice changing the passcode frequently. It will prevent digital scammers from accessing your account. It will also give you an extra safeguard to protect your online account.
Keep updating your browser
If you ignore your update messages, you are inviting your problems. Updates lend a hand to prevent cyber attacks; it enhances the security level. If you never update your browser properly, then it will enhance the chance of phishing. So, you can easily escape the trouble by updating your browser properly.
Use an advanced Firewall
Firewalls are the most powerful weapon that can prevent phishing attacks. It generates a protected shield that can safeguard your device from attackers. Therefore, you must install some advanced firewalls to boost up the security level of your device and network.
Don't ignore the security pop-ups
Yes, the security pop-ups are annoying; they might appear while browsing. But, you need to know that it warns you of malware attacks. So, you must allow your browser to download free ad blocker software; it will undoubtedly block the Trojan pop-ups.
Do not share important information
Never share any confidential information with any website, such as bank details, credit card details, etc. If you ever require sharing confidential information, you must verify the website properly.
Use a data security platform for marking the signs of phishing
You must utilize a data security platform that will alert you if any unwanted changes or activities is detected in your device. The data security platform also identifies the affected accounts. Therefore, you can take the necessary steps to avoid more reimbursement.
With technological advancement, the phishing activities of scammers are also developing gradually. Therefore, knowing some essential information about phishing will help you to confront phishing attacks. There’s a lot of threats out there in cyberspace. When it comes to phishing scams, you should pay close attention to the details. The first phishing scam was in 2004, and technology and people have changed drastically since then. These attacks are based on social engineering, which tricks the user into providing sensitive information willingly.
You can follow the tips and tricks mentioned here, but cybercriminals will always find a way because nothing is 100% safe on the internet. The best protection against phishing scams and most internet threats is to use common sense and avoid them from the initial signs.
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