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What is Spoofing? Types of Spoofing

  • Ashesh Anand
  • Jun 07, 2022
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To spoof their identity, cyber thieves use a variety of methods, including spoofed email addresses, websites, or phone numbers, as well as more complex schemes such as false IP addresses, Domain Name Servers (DNS), or Address Resolution Protocol (ARP). 


Deception is almost as old as humanity itself. For as long as there have been people, there have also been fraudsters aiming to take advantage of other people’s inexperience, ignorance, and gullibility. Although their strategies are similar, the hoaxers of yesteryear have nothing on today’s hoaxers.


Nowadays, fraudsters are mixing age-old deception strategies with modern technology to create a totally new beast — spoofing. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary describes spoofing as the act of making good-natured fun of a particular subject, but there’s nothing enjoyable about internet spoofing.


The purpose of a spoofing scam, regardless of the strategies utilized, is to defraud victims and harm their reputations. To deceive victims into giving private information, downloading attachments, or clicking links that install malware, cyber thieves use conventional social engineering techniques such as using phony email addresses, websites, or phone numbers.


Scammers use entities that most people are familiar with, such as recognisable brands, financial institutions, government agencies, and so on, to assuage the suspicions of the ordinary victim. As a result, their guard is down, allowing them to take advantage of human nature's tendency to trust.


What exactly is Spoofing?


Spoofing is a term for when a cybercriminal poses as a trustworthy entity or device in order to persuade you to perform something that benefits the hacker but is harmful to you. Spoofing occurs when an internet scammer assumes another person's identity.


Spoofing can be used on a variety of communication routes and involves varying degrees of technological difficulty. Spoofing assaults frequently include a social engineering component, in which scammers psychologically manipulate their victims by exploiting human weaknesses like fear, greed, or a lack of technical understanding.


So, how do cybercriminals deceive us? Often, just mentioning the name of a large, reputable institution is enough to persuade us to divulge information or take action. A counterfeit email from PayPal or Amazon, for example, can query about purchases you never made. If you're worried about your account, you might want to follow the link provided.


Scammers will direct you to a web page with a virus download or a bogus login page—complete with a familiar logo and spoofed URL—in order to steal your username and password.


A spoofing attack might take many different forms. Fraudsters rely on victims falling for the ruse in all of them. If you never question the integrity of a website or suspect an email of being forged, you may fall victim to a spoofing assault at some point.


Also Read | Cybersecurity Tactics to Secure the Cloud


Process of Spoofing


Spoofing can be used using a variety of communication channels and requires varying levels of technical expertise. Phishing attacks, which are scams aimed at obtaining sensitive information from individuals or organizations, can be carried out using spoofing


The pretext is the attacker's initial, believable assertion, or lie, in which he or she concocts a plausible story or notion. This deception is sometimes accompanied by a request from a higher authority. 


Other times, the fraudster would say that there is a limited amount of time left and that the person or machine must act immediately. The key to the pretext is that it is convincing and fits the victim's comfort zone. The attacker will most likely fail if the pretext is too absurd, generic, or plain irrelevant.

The action statement instructs the victim on what they must do, such as clicking a link or filling out a form. The action statement, or ask, appears to be rather benign most of the time. After all, we all click links on a daily basis. 


A request for a credit card number, bank account information, or social security number to rectify an issue is an example of a more strong action statement. The action statement must also be something the victim can accomplish. If the attacker demands the unthinkable, the intended victim is likely to dismiss the social engineering attempt.


More information on how different spoofing attack methods function can be found in the following examples of spoofing attack methods.


The image depicts how hackers commit spoofing and what channel they use.

How a Spoofing attack takes place?

Also Read | Everything About Cybersecurity Threats, Attacks and its Types


Different Types of Spoofing


  1. Website Spoofing


It's called "website spoofing" when an entirely new website is made to look like a well-known and/or trusted one already visited by the user. Attackers use these sites to gain login and other personal information from users.


The goal of website spoofing is to make a malicious website appear to be a trustworthy one. When you first arrive at the fake login page, you may think you've landed on one of your favorite websites. This is because the branding, user interface, and even the spoofed domain name are all identical. 


Login spoofing (also known as website spoofing) is a technique used by cybercriminals to steal your username and password or to install malicious software on your computer (a drive-by download). In most cases, a spoofed website is used in conjunction with a spoofed email, which links to the website.


As an aside, a spoofed website is not the same as a hacked website. Cybercriminals take control of the actual website when it is hacked—no spoofing or fakery involved. 


Malvertising, on the other hand, is a form of malware. Here, cybercriminals have exploited trusted websites' legitimate advertising channels to place malicious ads there. These ads infiltrate a victim's computer without their knowledge and install malicious software in the background.



  1. Email Spoofing


When a hacker produces and sends emails from a fabricated email address that their intended victim recognises, such as one used by their bank, this is known as email spoofing. Hackers may pose as high-ranking executives or business partners in corporate environments, requesting confidential information from employees. 


These addresses can be made by changing the digits or letters in the 'from' field to be the precise email address of someone in your network, or by changing the 'from' field to be the exact email address of someone in your network.


But what exactly is email spoofing and how do spoofers get away with it? Email is a free and reasonably secure messaging medium that allows people to send and receive messages quickly. Unfortunately, this openness makes email vulnerable to spoofers and other hostile actors.


  1. Caller ID Spoofing


Caller ID spoofing is a frequent scam in which a phone number that appears to be from your area code is used. When we see a local number, we are more likely to pick up the phone.


When their call is answered, cyber thieves use social engineering attacks to keep people on the line and persuade them to take action. A computer criminal could impersonate a police officer. Because the caller ID appears to be genuine, the victim is persuaded to pay fictitious penalties and reveal private information under threat of arrest.



  1. IP address Spoofing


Using a spoofed IP address, an attacker can hide their true identity by sending IP packets. Attackers frequently use IP address spoofing to overwhelm their target with network traffic in DoS attacks, a common method of attack. Such an attack involves sending packets to multiple network recipients using a spoofed IP address. 


As a result of the influx of responses, the network service of the real IP address owner may be disrupted. For example, a hacker could try and get into a network where users or devices are only authenticated by their IP address by using a fake IP address.


IP spoofing can be avoided by keeping an eye on your network for any unexpected behavior, using packet filtering devices to detect inconsistencies, using verified mechanisms for every remote access, verifying that all IP addresses are valid, employing a network attack deterrent and ensuring that at least a part of your computer resources are protected by a firewall.



  1. Text Messaging Spoofing


The use of a spoof phone number to send harmful text messages is known as text messaging spoofing. The cyber criminal conceals himself behind the sender name, phone number, or both. Advanced research is used in this sort of spoofing to determine which types of text messages will entice the receiver to open and respond.


Scammers conceal their identities behind an alphanumeric sender ID and frequently add links to malware downloads or phishing sites. If you feel the data on your phone has been compromised, make sure you're aware of mobile security tips. 


A phone number for the recipient to contact or a link to a rogue website used to commit additional cyber crimes may be included in the text message. To get the recipient to respond promptly, the SMS message employs social engineering techniques.



  1. GPS Spoofing


When a GPS receiver is tricked by broadcasting phony signals that seem like real ones, this is known as a GPS spoofing assault. In other words, the con artist is posing as if he or she is in one place while actually being in another. 


Fraudsters can use this to hack the GPS of a car and direct you to an incorrect location, or – on a far larger scale – to interfere with the GPS signals of ships or aircraft. Many mobile apps rely on location data from cell phones, making them vulnerable to spoofing attacks.



  1. MitM (Man-in-the-Middle) attack


A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is a sort of cyberattack in which a third party intercepts a network user's chat with a web application. 


The purpose of this assault is to steal information, such as personal information, passwords, or financial information, and/or to impersonate one party in order to obtain more information or to compel action, such as changing login credentials, completing a transaction, or initiating a fund transfer. In order to cause action and transfer data, this form of attack frequently uses email spoofing, website spoofing, or both.



  1. Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) Spoofing


The process of matching IP addresses to Media Access Control (MAC) addresses in order to transmit data is known as Address Resolution Protocol (ARP). In an ARP spoofing attack, the attacker associates their MAC address with a legitimate network IP address in order to receive data intended for the owner of that IP address. 


ARP spoofing is a prevalent technique for stealing or altering data. It can also be used in denial-of-service (DoS) and man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, as well as session hijacking.


The cyber thief can use this method to intercept and steal data intended for the IP address owner. As part of a denial-of-service attack or during session hijacking, ARP spoofing is commonly used to steal data or commit man-in-the-middle assaults.


Also Read | What is Cybersecurity? Types and Importance


Bottom Line: How can spoofing be avoided?


  1. Check your privacy settings on the internet. If you use social networking sites, be cautious about who you connect with and understand how to use your privacy and security settings to keep safe. If you see any unusual behavior, click on spam, or are a victim of an online scam, take steps to secure your account and report it.


  1. Don't share personal information on the internet. If you can't be confident it's a reliable source, don't give out personal or private information online.


  1. Maintain an up-to-date network and software. Security patches, bug fixes, and new features are all included in software updates, so staying current decreases the chance of malware infection and security breaches.


  1. Don't open attachments or click on links from unknown sources. They may contain malware or viruses that attack your computer. If in doubt, stay away.


  1. Use two-factor authentication whenever possible. This adds an additional degree of security to the authentication process, making it more difficult for hackers to get access to your devices or online accounts.


  1. Make sure your passwords are strong. A strong password is one that is difficult to guess and consists of a mix of upper and lower case letters, special characters, and digits. Avoid using the same password on all of your accounts and update your password on a frequent basis. A password manager is a great method to keep track of your passwords.

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