We don’t even suspect that we face the risk of stealing personal data on a daily basis. And the main reason behind that is the most widespread method of hacker attacks called phishing. All of that becomes possible due to a very simple realization of this attack and its comparatively low cost.
Phishing is such a way of a cyberattack when perpetrators hide malicious software under the look of websites or products of real companies. The main purpose here is to get confidential information, payment information about the banking cards, passwords, etc. In view of the fact that such an attack is based on psychology and people’s mistakes, as a rule, it relates to social engineering.
The e-mail mailings, the content of which includes links to fraudulent websites that maximally imitate the original websites of the companies, usually taken by fraudsters for disguising, often become the first contact of such attacks.
There are three main types of phishing:
- Clone phishing: fraudsters send e-mails with original content on behalf of the companies they try to disguise for. However, the link contained in the letter directs to a malicious website.
- Spear phishing: in this case, a specific person or an organization gets attacked. This method is the most difficult since it is a specialized one. It follows that perpetrators get prepared for the attack beforehand, collecting information about the victim, and then they come up with a phishing letter or a page taking into consideration the data they’ve gathered.
- Pharming phishing: attackers send the ‘poisoned’ DNS using which users are redirected to a phishing website instead of a true one. This type is considered to be the most dangerous as the DNS record is out of the user’s control, which makes the attack extremely vulnerable.
- Whaling: such a method of phishing is applied to persons having high financial status: these are socially significant people, heads of huge enterprises, officials.
- E-mail spoofing: phishing letters when fraudsters appeal to users as representatives of real companies. Using such letters, they collect personal and payment information, and cookies of the users’ data. The pages contain links to phishing websites collecting information in a variety of different forms.
- Advertisement: one more pretty dangerous type of attack is when cyberattackers hide behind the ads of real companies. As a rule, similar ads can be found in the highest positions of search results. Their main purpose is to collect information about personal and bank accounts, banking cards to further receive and possess your money.
Still, is phishing the same as pharming?
Quite often pharming is incorrectly classified as phishing, although this statement is quite controversial because phishing refers to a human mistake. And there’s no difference was it due to the person’s click to the phishing website, entered data on the website of fraudsters, or trojan infection. As for the pharming attack, it is usually activated when going to the genuine website but with a hijacked DNS, which has nothing to do with the user. Thus, not everyone can classify such an attack method as phishing.
What should be undertaken to protect yourself from phishing?
- The main defense against phishing is vigilance! It’s necessary to check the e-mails every time you receive them, whether it is a company you have been cooperating with for a long time or a letter with password restoration requested by you recently. The thing is that fraudsters work on a psychological level and are able to apply methods of social engineering to mislead you.
- Check the links contained in suspicious letters. When you go to the website, enter the link by hand or check it using a search engine.
- Check the links for having an https protocol. All the links must have an https instead of http at the beginning. That is the main aspect of precaution but still not a guarantee of safety.
- Don’t forget to check the links for grammatical mistakes: all the required letters must be present while extra symbols must be absent.
This method is one of the most popular ones using which cybercriminals obtain confidential information of people. Hence, it’s vital to always be careful when following the unknown links; try to confirm the links’ authenticity using a search engine, or check them independently with the help of a visual check. Pay attention to whether the link contains HTTPS at the beginning. And once again! When you conduct the operations with cryptocurrencies, stay as vigilant as you only can since it’s not possible to cancel the transactions if you happened to get onto a fraudulent website and transfer cryptocurrency — most likely you will lose it.