As you may know, phishing is a tactic that involves duping the user into obtaining private information, access codes, and so on by convincing them that they are on a perfectly trustworthy site.
Until now, hackers utilized emails to conduct these types of assaults, but with the widespread use of social media and cell phones with internet access, the attack vectors are expanding. These emails or messages contain a link that directs the user to a presumably recognized website, but it is a duplicate of the original where private information is required.
As a result, overconfident users who do not have proper antivirus protection may become victims of these types of assaults, the primary goal of which is the theft of personal data.
And, as a result of the economic crisis that is affecting various nations, phishing assaults with the promise of a wonderful job or an easy method to earn money are on the rise.
One of the most serious issues right now is that there are several sorts of phishing attacks, which we have previously discussed and which we want to consolidate in this post so that you have a full list.
Types of Phishing attacks that exist
- Phishing via email
This is a cyber assault sent by email that impersonates the identities of significant firms, organizations, or top persons, such as CEOs, so that the receiver believes the communication is genuine and performs the required action. The virus contained in the email is triggered.
Unlike email phishing, the Vishing approach is a little different. Although the goal is the same, obtaining personal or sensitive information from a firm and then demanding a cash ransom, vishing is carried out via phone calls.
This is a better and more complex way since it can exactly imitate the voice of a high command, so you don’t dispute its validity.
- Spear phishing
Spear Phishing is similar to Email Phishing but the message is customized, that is, it is addressed specifically to the receiver since it carries their name. What’s the big deal about it being named after the victim? When something is customized, it is more likely to be opened or catch the sender’s attention.
SMS texts are used to initiate smishing attacks. Although nearly no one uses it anymore, many businesses, such as banks, utilize it to send notifications to their customers.
Smishing is the practice of sending a message imitating the sender’s identity, which might be a known firm, for you to open a link and therefore steal your bank data.
- Malware-based Phishing
In this situation, the cybercriminal sends an email in which, unlike email phishing, which requires you to click on a link or download an infected file to activate the malware within, the email itself is the infection.
As we noted before, the problem with phishing assaults is that they are extremely difficult to detect, especially if you lack cybersecurity skills. Did you know that the person most affected by phishing in a company is generally the CEO? Aside from that, the vast majority of malware that enters a system is the product of human mistakes.
Examples of phishing
Phishing Attack against PayPal (2006): PayPal users were targeted in a major phishing campaign around 2006. Attackers sent bogus emails purporting to be from PayPal support, warning customers of unusual account activity and pushing them to click on a link to verify their account information. The link took visitors to a bogus PayPal login page meant to steal their information.
Data Breach at Epsilon (2011): Epsilon, a marketing agency, suffered a significant data breach in 2011. Attackers targeted Epsilon’s email database, which contained client information for a variety of large corporations. They sent phishing emails to these firms’ consumers, masking the communications with stolen email addresses. This hack demonstrated the possibility for attackers to take advantage of trusting ties between businesses and their consumers.
Google Docs Phishing (2017): A sophisticated phishing assault targeting Google users attracted notice in 2017. Users got an email with what seemed to be a valid link to a Google Doc requesting access to their Google account. The attackers may access users’ Gmail and Google Drive accounts if they are allowed access.
WannaCry Ransomware (2017): Although it was not a standard phishing assault, the WannaCry ransomware epidemic in 2017 was propagated by phishing emails. The victims were then confronted with a ransom demand to access their data. This instance showed how phishing may be used to distribute more dangerous malware.
These examples demonstrate the breadth of phishing attempts, from obtaining login credentials to distributing malware and deceiving consumers by exploiting recognized brands and services. Phishing attacks are always evolving, frequently adjusting to current events and trends to maximize their efficacy. To guard against these risks, people and organizations must be aware and exercise good cybersecurity hygiene.
Tips to prevent phishing attacks
- Be Wary of Unsolicited Emails
Phishing attempts sometimes begin with unsolicited emails purporting to be from legitimate sources. Treat any unexpected email asking for critical information or action with care. Before answering, double-check its validity.
- Examine the Sender’s Email Address
Carefully examine the sender’s email address. Phishers frequently utilize email addresses that seem similar to legal domains but have minor differences or misspellings. Genuine companies often communicate using official domains.
- Hover Over Links Before Clicking
To preview the destination URL, hover your mouse pointer over any links in an email. Check if the URL matches the official website of the organization from which it purports to be. Shortened URLs should be avoided since they might conceal the genuine destination.
- Use Antivirus
Antiviruses’ primary duty is to identify and remove ‘malware’ (or malicious software) from computers and devices before it infects the system.
To identify malware, antivirus software does a continual analysis that compares the files in the computer’s operating system to a database containing the identifying features (signatures) of different samples of malware discovered with precedence. This database must be regularly updated with the signatures of new varieties of malware as they appear. Some antivirus programs may detect dangers by detecting patterns in files, discovering system changes, and evaluating unusual behavior of computer components.
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA should be enabled wherever possible, especially for important accounts such as email, banking, and social networking. MFA increases security by requiring a second form of authentication in addition to a password.
Finally, blocking phishing attempts is critical to preserving our online security and protecting sensitive information. You may dramatically lower your chance of falling victim to phishing schemes by being watchful, doubting the validity of unsolicited emails, and using proactive security measures. Furthermore, continual education and knowledge sharing about new phishing strategies enable individuals and businesses to stay one step ahead of fraudsters. It’s important to keep in mind that phishing assaults may be complex and persuasive, but with the correct knowledge and measures, we can strengthen your defenses and secure your digital identities and assets.