Hackers today have various ways to get access to personal information and perform cyber attacks. One of the ways of internet piracy is Phishing (pronounced as ‘fishing’). Phishing aims to gather personal data by persuading the user to provide it voluntarily. The purpose of phishing is to get the user's private and confidential information.
Phishing scams allow hackers to get access to any personal information like passwords, account numbers, security numbers, and in the worst case even identity. Your financial history and reputation may suffer harm from them that may take years to repair. But you can stop this crime if you are aware of how phishing operates and know how to defend yourself.
In this article, we will discuss ways to identify and prevent phishing scams.
How does phishing work?
To avoid phishing, you would need to understand how phishing works. The key to running a credential-stealing phishing scam is creating a replica of a secure website that's good enough to fool most people or at least just some people. With the classiest fakes, every link goes to the real site.
Typically, you'll get an email that purports to be from a respected firm you know and deal with, like your bank institution. In certain instances, the email may appear to be from a government organization, such as one of the federal authorities in charge of regulating financial institutions.
You'll likely receive an email alerting you to a significant issue that needs your quick action. Phrases like "Immediate action necessary" or "Please contact us quickly regarding your account" may be used. You will then be prompted by the email to click a link that will take you to the organization's website.
You could be sent to a fake website that looks just like the real one in a phishing scam. In certain cases, it can even be the company's official website. In some circumstances, a pop-up window will emerge immediately in order to get your financial information. But not all phishing pages are well-done. Some don't match the page they are copying by using the incorrect colors or in other ways.
Influence of Covid 19:
Phishing fraudsters were in paradise at the height of the epidemic when many individuals were forced to work from home and turned to the internet for leisure. To begin with, they have now expanded the audience for common credential theft scams. However, the dread, apprehension, and doubt sparked by this unprecedented epidemic made (and continues to make) the ideal prey for fresh schemes.
Google claimed to be eliminating 18 million virus-related frauds every day as of April 2020. According to estimations, Google performs a good job of blocking 99.9% of spam and fraudulent emails. However, that implies that 18,000 unwanted communications were delivered each day to an unknown number of recipients.
Scams attempting to deprive residents of financial help were at their height while economic stimulus payments were at their peak. Nowadays, vaccination or booster shot-related frauds are more common.
Scammers using viruses are after your money as well as your credentials. Scams and fraud have been for as long as humanity, and they are just as effective online as they are offline. Any communication mentioning the epidemic should be avoided, especially if it asks you to click a link or download something. Use the provided link instead of going directly to the source of the fake email's sense of urgency worries you.
How to Recognize Phishing?
Scammers will send you emails or texts to coerce you into divulging your personal information. They could attempt to obtain your Social Security number, account information, or passwords. They could be able to access your bank, email, and other accounts if they manage to acquire that information. Every day, scammers carry out tens of thousands of such phishing assaults, many of which are successful.
Phishing emails and texts might appear to be from businesses you know or trust. They can seem to be from a bank, a credit card provider, a social media platform, a website or app for making online payments, or an online retailer.
Phishing emails and texts frequently use a narrative to get you to click a link or open an attachment. They might:
Identify instances of suspicious behavior or failed log-in attempts
Assert that there is an issue with your account or your payment details and that you need to validate certain personal information.
Add a phony invoice
Would like you to click on a link to send money
Claim that you are qualified to apply for a government refund
Provide a voucher for a free item
Also Read | 10 Types of Phishing Attacks
10 Ways to prevent Phishing Attacks:
Here are 10 ways to detect and prevent any phishing scams:
Think before clicking on any link:
Even if you know the sender, it's typically not a good idea to click on a link in an email or instant message. You should at the very least be lingering over the link to check that the destination is the right one. The destination URL of certain phishing attempts might resemble an exact replica of the legitimate website and be designed to capture keystrokes or collect login and credit card information. You should bypass the link and go directly to the website if it's feasible to do so using your search engine.
Do not provide your personal information:
Never, whether over the phone or online, respond to an unsolicited request for your personal information. Phishing emails and websites may be made to seem just like the real thing. They could even feature a false version of the padlock icon, which is often used to indicate a secure site. You shouldn't provide any information if you didn't start the conversation.
Identify the latest phishing scam trends:
Although new phishing attack techniques are always being created, they all have some characteristics that may be seen if you know what to look for. There are several websites online that can keep you up to date on the most recent phishing assaults and their distinctive characteristics. The more frequently you do security awareness training for your users and the earlier you learn about the most recent attack techniques, the more likely you are to prevent a prospective assault.
Do not click on any Pop-ups:
Pop-ups aren't simply annoying; they're frequently connected to malware as a result of phishing attempts. You may now download and install free ad-blocker software that will automatically prevent the majority of dangerous pop-ups from most browsers. But if one manages to get past the ad blocker, resist the urge to click! Sometimes pop-ups will try to trick you by hiding the "Close" button in a different location, so always try to search for the cross sign in the corner.
Keep checking your online accounts regularly:
Someone may be having a field day with an online account if you don't log in for a time. Check each of your internet accounts frequently, even if you don't strictly need to. Make it a point to routinely change your passwords as well. You should manually review your statements on a frequent basis to avoid credit card and bank phishing fraud. Obtain monthly statements for your bank accounts, and carefully review each item to be sure no unauthorized fraudulent transactions have taken place.
Use any antivirus software:
The adoption of antiviral software has several benefits. Antivirus software comes with special signatures that protect against known technology workarounds and vulnerabilities. Simply be sure you update your software. Due to the constant invention of new schemes, new definitions are always being introduced.
Phishing attempts could be avoided by using firewall and anti-spyware settings, and users should update their applications often. By thwarting the assaults, firewall defense restricts access to harmful files. Every file that is downloaded to your computer from the Internet is scanned by antivirus software. Your system is protected from harm as a result.
Use multi-factor authentication:
Some accounts provide additional protection by demanding two or more login credentials. Multi-factor authentication is the term for this.
There are two types of supplementary information you need to access your account: Something physical, such as a security key or a passcode obtained through an authentication program, or something like a face or retina scan or a fingerprint scan.
If scammers do manage to get their hands on your login and password, multi-factor authentication makes it more difficult for them to access your accounts.
Update your system regularly:
It might be annoying to constantly get update alerts, and it can be tempting to delay or disregard them. Avoid doing this. Security updates and patches are published for a cause, most frequently to close security gaps in order to stay current with contemporary cyber-attack techniques. If you don't upgrade your browser, you can be vulnerable to phishing attempts that might have been easily prevented by making use of known flaws.
Install an Anti-phishing toolbar:
Anti-phishing toolbars may be added to the majority of widely used web browsers. These toolbars quickly scan the websites you are viewing and contrast them with databases of well-known phishing sites. The toolbar will warn you if you land on a dangerous website. This additional measure of defense against phishing fraud is totally free.
Verify any site’s security:
It seems sensible to be a little hesitant when providing private financial information online. However, as long as you are on a secure website, you shouldn't encounter any issues. Make sure the site's URL starts with "HTTPS" and that a closed lock symbol is present near the address bar before entering any information.
Additionally, look for the site's security certificate. Do not open a website if you receive a warning that it may contain harmful files. Never download files from emails or websites you are unsure of. Even search engines occasionally provide links that might take viewers to a phishing website selling cheap goods. Cybercriminals will gain access to credit card information if the user makes purchases on such a website.
How to Fight Identity Theft?
Some ways to fight identity theft are given below:
Never reply to any fishy email or call:
A caller or emailer who threatens terrible repercussions if you do not promptly submit or verify financial information should not be taken seriously. Instead of utilizing the link supplied in the email, if you think the contact is authentic, go directly to the company's website or a page you've already saved.
Never provide any financial information to anyone:
If you did not initiate the contact, never give out personal financial information—including your Social Security number, account numbers, or passwords—over the phone or online. Never click on a link in an email that you suspect is a scam. It could include a virus in it that might damage your machine.
If you fall victim, take immediate action:
If you are the target of an assault, defend yourself right away. Send an alert to your banking institution. Add a fraud alert to your credit reports. Keep a watchful eye on your account statements and credit reports.
Also Read | Top 7 Identity Management Tools
Make use of the tools at your disposal, such as password managers and the phishing-detection system in your antivirus, to prevent the anguish of being conned out of your hard-earned money or the shame of disclosing your private information to a scammer.
The most informed internet users conduct their online transactions using a virtual private network, or VPN. Because the data is transmitted to the VPN server in encrypted form, using a VPN secures your data while it is in transit. Due to the fact that your traffic looks to originate from the VPN server rather than from your local IP address, it also provides some security against online stalking. However, using a VPN to route web traffic doesn't offer any protection from phishing. It makes little difference how they arrived at a phishing site if you provide the site's proprietors with your login information. Phishing attacks are directed at you, not at your equipment or communication infrastructure.