Most of us receive a lot of spam emails every day. Sometimes even, it is hard to determine legitimate emails from spam. If you open your spam box, you may see emails like you won a 1 billion dollar lottery, bought a car at an exciting price, and a lot of property advertisements. To tell you the truth, all spam emails are not phishing emails. Confused? Let us tell you the main difference between spam and phish emails. Both spam and phish are related to social engineering. In general, regular, repeated advertisements and unwanted junk emails sent to a large number of recipients in order to sell their product or do marketing are mostly considered spam. But, in the case of phish, phishing is considered a form of a cyber attack. Phish emails are created by cybercriminals to deceive people into stealing confidential information like passwords, credit card information, and personal information. Let’s keep spamming aside and carry out our journey with phishing in this article. This post mainly covers what is phishing, the types of phishing attacks, and simple countermeasures to counter the phishing attack.
What Is Phishing?
This is the most favorite attack type of hackers. Because this attack doesn’t demand high technical knowledge, attackers can crack the password, just tricking the user into revealing the credentials.
How Does It Work?
To tell how it works, attackers send spoofed emails that look like they originated from a genuine source composed of a malicious website or attachments to a large number of random people. When the user sees the email with a fake web link, which says to reset their password, he/she visits the link and supplies the credentials by submitting his/her username and password on the cloned website believing the site is genuine. This gives the cybercriminal to receive the supplied data.
Types Of Phishing Attacks:
Attackers use five phishing techniques to steal personal information from the user.
Phishing is the practice of using fraudulent emails to steal credentials, credit cards, and bank account information to commit identity theft. In this type of attack, attackers target a large group of random people with spoofed emails which looks like they originated from a genuine source. This is the most common type of phishing attack seen in general. To give you an example: emails ask to fund orphanages, treat cancer patients, and Donate to non-profitable organizations.
2. Spear Phishing:
This is the most common type of phishing attack seen by working professionals. Spear Phishing refers to the targeted attack against specific sectors such as financial organizations to gain unauthorized access to the network to steal business-critical information. This type of attack uses malicious attachments and web links to compromise the computers. For example, email offers free training programs, corporate offerings, Investment guidance, reset account passwords, and even more.
This type of phishing attack is commonly referred to as voice phishing. The idea is the same as phishing, but instead of emails, voice calls are used to trick the user into stealing personal confidential information. Common tricks are like and someone pretending to be an official from a legitimate organization and tricking the user into sharing confidential information like meeting information organization structures.
Smishing uses a ‘small messaging service’ in short SMS, commonly known as text messaging. Here the scam involves a fake text message to deliver malicious web links, leading to identity theft. Sometimes it downloads malicious files onto your smartphone, which would give your phone access to the hacker.
This is the subform of spear phishing. In this attack, the attacker targets the key persons of the organization to steal information about the organization’s ambitious projects, business secrets, and more of such things.
How You Can Protect From Phishing Attacks?
The study says, these days, it’s not just phishing attacks that are getting increased with passing days. But also it is getting more sophisticated no matter how much you prepared. Sometimes attacker takes you to your knees. Don’t worry so much, and we will tell you some techniques that will always take the edge over any phishing attacks.
1. Self Education:
Awareness always stands out as the first and foremost layer of defiance. Because it is more of a social engineering attack, in such attacks attacker would play with your mind to trick you expose your confidential details. We want to present you with a list of points as best practices.
- Use good spam filters if you can afford them.
- Don’t click on the unknown links shared with you over emails from unknown users.
- Don’t download any programs, scripts, documents, or attachments from an unknown source.
- Be aware of fake sites. Give some attention to the letters on the website and make sure everything is correct. Just ignore if you notice a small change, like a change of a letter. To show you examples: go0gle.com, m1crosoft.com.
- As a last tip, I would suggest using search engines to visit the site. This could help in becoming the victim of a DNS poisoning attack to a certain extent.
2. Keep Backups Up To Date:
Always be ready with backups. Keep your backup up to date. This is the best defense not just against phishing but also against all kinds of cyberattacks. When the attacker attempts to down your business by blocking your data, you can bring everything back in place from your backups and run the show.
3. MFA — Multi-Factor Authentication:
As it says, you need to supply more than one factor to prove your identity. You are safe until the attacker gets all your credential factors. This could help. To some extent, even the attacker stole your password. Always keep your login factors safe, and changing over time works even better.
4. Keep Change Credentials Over Time:
No matter whether you are targeted or not, it’s always best to change the login credentials periodically. This would definitely decrease the success rate of social engineering attacks.
5. Follow the best practice:
You should be aware of and apply the best cybersecurity practices in your life. Some common practices that work as a guard to all such phish attacks:
- Adhere to the password policy
- Keep updating all your computers, tablets, and smartphones.
- Use antivirus and encryptions.
- Follow all email security guidelines.
- Use VPN Whenever you need.