Beware with Phishing Attack!

Technology is advancing quickly, which increases phishing attack complexity. The sophistication of phishing attacks increases as society becomes more technologically advanced. Not to mention, as more people spend time online, there are an increasing number of phishing attacks. Here is a quick guide to keeping yourself safe from phishing scams while you browse the internet.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of cybercrime where an attacker contacts a person under the guise of a legitimate company with the goal of deceiving the user into giving up sensitive, private, and important personal and organizational data or to install malicious software like ransomware. The most sought-after information by cybercriminals is your bank account information and company access password.

Types of Phishing

Scammers use a variety of phishing techniques, and the list keeps expanding as online criminals come up with new strategies for getting access to the data they need. Users may fall victim to a more recent, less well-known type of phishing attack as technology and internet services advance and hackers look for fresh ways to exploit security flaws and access private data. Below, we look at a few of the various phishing scams:

1. Spear Phishing

Instead of focusing on random users, spear phishing targets a particular person or company. This con usually aims to steal private information from the targeted victim, like account passwords or financial data, and use it for evil. It calls for specific information about the victim, such as some private information. The cybercriminals use this information, typically in an email, to pose as a reliable company or person in order to obtain the data they require.

Spear phishing vs phishing

Both of them are cyberattacks that aim to steal private data. Phishing, on the other hand, is a more general term for this kind of attack because it basically refers to any attempt to dupe victims into sharing sensitive information.

According to the definition of spear phishing, it is tailored to the particular victim. To reach its objective, it needs more thought, consideration, and information. Since the messages used in spear phishing are customized, it can be more challenging to spot these attacks.

Being cautious with your online presence in general can help protect you from spear phishing. Following these suggestions will help you steer clear of spear phishing:

  • Be careful what personal information you post on the internet
  • Use smart and strong passwords
  • Update your software regularly
  • Watch out when opening emails and clicking on links

2. Whale Phishing

Whale phishing is an extremely focused attack. This kind of phishing attack poses as a legitimate email and targets specific people, such as senior executives. It makes an effort to persuade victims to take a specific action, typically one that involves transferring money or disclosing particular information. Because they are intended for C-level executives, whaling phishing emails frequently target major financial institutions and are more intricate than standard phishing emails.

These emails typically convey personalized details about the company or C-level executive, convey a sense of urgency, use formal language, and invite you to take the following actions:

  • Click on a link that eventually brings malware
  • Transfer money to the attacker’s bank account
  • Provide further information about the business or individual

3. Voice Phishing

A business email compromise is an email that appears legitimate, requests a specific action, and is directed at a particular organization. Typically, the message asks the recipient to transfer money to the attacker’s bank account so that:

  • Pretends to be the “regular supplier” that has sent an invoice from an updated mailing address
  • Pretends to be the CEO of the company
  • Pretends to be an employee of the company and has hacked their email address
  • Pretends to be the lawyer of the company

4. Microsoft 365 Phishing

Phishing emails used in these attacks target users of Microsoft 365. One of the most frequent tactics used by attackers is to disguise a file’s extension in order to trick victims into downloading it. Attackers use the right-to-left override, a unique Unicode character. They can use it, for instance, to pass off a “.exe” file as a “.txt” file. As a result, the victim downloads the “.exe” file, which proceeds to infect their laptop or computer with malicious software.

5. Social Media Phishing

Phishing on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others is referred to as social media phishing. It attempts to access your social media accounts or steal your personal information. Due to data being obtained for access to financial accounts, such an attack may also cause financial loss. Follow these straightforward guidelines to safeguard yourself from a social media phishing attack:

  • Don’t add/accept strangers as friends
  • Don’t click on links to update your personal information
  • Don’t use the same username and password for all your accounts
  • Use the latest version of your operating system

How to Prevent Phishing

Taking the necessary safety precautions is imperative because phishing can really cost you a lot, from stolen money to significant data breaches in your business. We’ve compiled a list of the key considerations for maintaining your online safety.

1. Check Sender and URL in Your Emails

One of the most popular phishing scams asks you to log in “to fix it” by pretending to be a well-known company and sending emails with their name (and typically color scheme) in the subject line. Although the appearance of the email frequently resembles that of the original brand, there is a surefire way to tell if you are viewing the genuine article.

Examining the email address is a good way to spot phishing emails because con artists can’t make email addresses with the company’s actual domain name, so instead of [email protected], it usually looks like [email protected]. Examine the email address carefully rather than just the name that appears in your email client!

Before clicking, you should also double-check the URL. Hovering the mouse pointer over the URL provided in the email usually reveals the domain it is pointing at, allowing you to see the intended destination of the email. Don’t click on anything that isn’t the brand’s official website.

2. Don’t Download Email Attachment that Your Don’t Recognize

Sometimes the email appears to be a legitimate business email and the sender does not pretend to be a large corporation; instead, they send an attachment that contains malware. The email is frequently formatted as a business proposal or as one from the recipient’s own management that contains files with sensitive data.

Do not open any attachments if you do not know who sent them. It is best to exercise caution if you know the sender but don’t anticipate receiving anything from them or if there is something off about the message. As sometimes con artists break into people’s email accounts and use them for phishing attacks by spamming their contacts, call the sender and ask them if they intended to send you anything.

Although Microsoft Office files can contain viruses that can contain macros that need to be enabled, the most popular attachment format is zip (.exe is typically not allowed). In general, be on the lookout for all kinds of attachments.

3. Always review the website you’ve landed on

If you click on a phishing link, which is typically sent via email or instant message, you will frequently be directed to a website with a form of some kind. These forms’ primary goal is to collect your most private data, such as usernames and passwords.

Before entering any data, make sure you are at the right website by checking the address in the browser’s address bar.

Scammers are allowed to create websites that closely resemble the look and feel of a given brand, but they are not permitted to use the brand’s official domain or include the brand name in the domain (assuming the brand is protected by a trademark). As a result, these domain names frequently contain additional symbols, letters, or words and may resemble a brand name but will never be the actual one.

The scammy domains typically have utterly absurd designs and flows, especially when they belong to well-known companies that you frequently encounter.

For instance, Google will never request that you choose your email provider or enter both your email and password on the same screen when logging into Gmail. Therefore, the flow you frequently see on phishing websites is created to look like the real one, but it’s not.

4. Money Request Method

Social engineers frequently use another type of online scam where they pose as someone else and request money. An illustration of one of these phishing emails is a distressed person asking for financial assistance; you are asked to send a small amount of money with the assurance that you will receive much more in return.

These frauds may occasionally involve extortion. One of the more well-known ones was an email that went around a few years ago and claimed that people had been caught on camera watching adult content and soliciting money. The truth is that this scam attack was so terrifying that it made the news because everyone was understandably terrified!

In either case, if a stranger asks you for money in any way, it’s usually a scam; no matter how the request is made, never part with money or personal information.

How to Report Phishing Email?

As was already mentioned, you need to alert several people and institutions about the phishing email. Here, we’ll demonstrate how to file a complaint about an email with both the email provider and a government agency.

How to inform your email service provider of phishing emails

Consider the case of Gmail accounts. Select “Report phishing” from the “More” menu next to the “Reply” option in Gmail.

If you use Outlook, you must choose the phishing email from the message list and then choose Junk > Phishing > Report from the menu that appears above the reading pane.

Similar user-friendly options are available for reporting phishing emails from other email providers.

According to the country you’re in, here’s how to report to a specific institution.

An international coalition called the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) works to combat cybercrime. Send any suspicious or harmful emails to this organization at [email protected] if you receive them. The organizations listed below are country-specific and can assist you as well:

  • Phishing emails should be forwarded to the National Cybersecurity Communications and Integration Center (NCCIC) for the United States at [email protected].
  • For the UK, report the phishing email to Action Fraud, the UK’s fraud and cyber crime reporting center.
  • If you reside in a member state of the European Union, you can find the reporting website for your nation in the event that you become a victim of a cybercrime.

Conclusion

With our straightforward, practical advice, you are much better equipped to defend yourself against phishing attacks now that you are aware of what they are. You can read our blog for simiiar topic about how to secure your website from hacker.

Steve
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