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Digital Transformation in Banking & Finance

How to Recognize and Avoid 5 Types of Phishing Attacks

Time to read: 6 minute(s)

Phishing is a hacking method that tricks people into extorting their sensitive information or downloading software that harms a device. This effective and simple method appeared a long time ago – one of the oldest types of cybercrime and at the same time one of the most innovative. Phishing never ceases to evolve and hackers are constantly modifying and improving it so that Internet users can be caught off guard.

Anyone who cares about their personal information should learn about different types of phishing attacks and how to protect yourself from them – protect your identity on social networks and not fall for the bait of hackers.

How did the Term “Phishing” Come About?

The story begins in the mid-1990s. The name of the method sounds exactly the same as the word “fishing”, but the hackers added their own “ph” slang. The name explains everything – a hacker is an angler who feeds on catching the user’s fish using a baited hook. In the process, the bait is communication, which is initiated by scammers in the form of emails, phone messages, or calls. The bad news is that hackers disguise themselves as messages from trusted legitimate sources and thereby mislead the victim, phishing tricks users out in most cases. Typically, hackers aim for a person to take immediate action after reading a letter or message.

One of the most common examples is a letter from a bank that contains information about a problem with a person’s account. Next, you will be asked for security reasons to update the data specified in your account after clicking on the link. By clicking on the link, a person gets to a page that is identical to a bank, but this is just a model created by hackers, from which they will collect all the data – account numbers, passwords, and so on.

How Hackers Fool People

Today, even in the world of phishing, – there are 5 forms Since scammers constantly work hard and improve their tactics every day, it is important to keep track of the information that comes to the mailbox. Phishing has grown and entrenched like a mould among the big, globally recognizable companies, so it can be hard for even tech professionals to spot scammers. Among the most common scams:

  • The bank sends a letter or message;
  • Emails about student loans;
  • A letter from a potential employer who asks for a resume and asks for an insurance number;
  • The IRS asks to send tax returns.

The purpose of these attacks are always to force them to act in their interests or to transfer their personal data to them. And they do it with the help of human emotions – they cause anxiety, curiosity, fear or shock. Most often, messages will consist of wording charged with urgency or emotionality.

Email Phishing

Fraudsters create a master email that they send out to emails they have in their database on behalf of legitimate companies – banks or credit card companies. Such a letter that is fishing or phishing for information will include a request for your account login information or other financial information such as a credit card number or social security number.

Another example is a fake link that scammers will direct the victim to and ask them to go to a website they have created. Such a page may look completely unremarkable, like Amazon, PayPal, or a bank website. Such scams do not steal information directly from the hands of the victim, but install malware that hacks into computers and takes full control of the devices – then the scammers can do whatever they want.

A simple example of phishing is when you receive an email telling you to click on a link to verify your PayPal account. At the same time, a person sees a warning that otherwise his account will be blocked – this is how emotional pressure works.

Phishing by Target

What is fishing on the internet? Commonly it happens by target. Often emails from scammers are sent in bulk, to large groups of people, but more targeted attacks also occur – personalised ones. Hackers create such content in order to attack a specific company, enterprise, or even a specific person. Unlike the first ones, such cybercriminals spend time studying their target, to get to know it better. This approach has already received its name and many people know it as social engineering – letters look the same as from legitimate official sources.

One of the most famous cases occurred in 2016. The attack was on Amazon: after making a purchase, millions of customers received an email that their order had been shipped. In addition to this, there was only one attachment in the letter, which contained dangerous software, and by opening this attachment, many people risked getting ransomware viruses on their computers.

It even happens that phishing is aimed at a particular employee of the company. In this case, the fraudster sends a letter on behalf of the boss, which says that it is necessary to provide access to confidential information. If the scammer succeeds in this business, then it can lead to disaster – a big leak of data about an employee or even the entire company.

Clone Phishing

This type of phishing is considered the most difficult to detect. The principle is that the scammers clone a letter that the victims have already received earlier.  What is spearfishing hacking? The only thing that can give out a scammer in this letter is the sender’s address, which will not be identical, but very similar. In this case, the entire contents of the letter will be one to one with what the victim received earlier, but the proposed links or additions may be infected or the websites may be fake.

Whaling Phishing

If you want to know what type of phishing attack targets particular individuals the most, the answer is whales. This term may include chief executives of companies, chief operating officers, or other heads and superiors. Hackers trick these powerful people into giving away important information that could affect the fate of the company. Naturally, such attacks are more thoughtful and planned for a very long time. Such attacks involve a longer collection of information. Usually, the main tool of hackers is emails that come from verified and trusted sources within the company or from external trusted agencies.

Pop up Phishing

First of all, with this type of phishing, the victim sees a pop-up ad that contains malicious links and software. Hackers disguise themselves behind anti-virus protection, which supposedly needs to be downloaded, and as a result, the victim’s computer succumbs to even more dangerous viruses.

The manipulative tool of this tactic is intimidation. For example, a computer user will see a window appear on the screen, which says that his device is infected with a virus and the only way to escape from it is to download the proposed type of antivirus software. After downloading such software, the user can say goodbye to the previous software or to the entire device – the help of a specialist will be required.

Ways to Avoid Phishing and Protect Yourself 

Despite the fact that scammers do not stop and come up with new ways to deceive device users, there is still hope of avoiding trouble. It is worth reading the information on how to protect yourself or your company from attacks by cybercriminals. It’s simple enough – no need to make decisions based on emotions.

  • Suspicious emails should not be opened. Even if you see a letter from a trusted source – a bank with a disturbing subject, for example, “Your account is blocked” – do not react. Calm down and go personally to your account and check for the same message or call the bank and ask there in person. Immediately after logging in, it will be clear whether it is a fake or not.
  • Clicking on suspicious links attached to emails is not recommended at all. When you receive an email from a recipient you don’t know, it’s best not to click on the links they sent you. The consequences may be a transition to a fake website where you will be asked to leave your personal information or malware will be installed on your computer.
  • It is important to understand how to trick your bank account and if you need to send any data on your finances, the bank or credit card provider will never ask you to send a credit card number, passwords, or insurance number by email. Ignore such messages, but rather report to the appropriate departments.
  • Pop-up ads are taboo. Cybercriminals can leave messages that can pop up on pages even from trusted sources. In such messages, you will see information that a computer or other device is infected and you need to download an antivirus.
  • It’s a good idea to use a spam filter. This will help block those emails that come from illegal sources like phishing vs. hacking. Unfortunately, it happens that these letters from scammers can even pass such protection, in which case you need to be very careful.
  • The computer must be protected – subscribe to anti-virus protection. It is important to do this before the time of a hacker attack and only with a trusted antivirus service provider.

Good and quality software will protect your computer from external threats. You will have access to manage your passwords, and your personal files and confidential information will be protected from phishing attacks.

PayDo cares about the safety of their clients’ personal data. The most modern methods are used to protect all information related to payments and personalities of clients. It is crucial for the PayDo company. If you haven’t already created an account, it is high time to do it. Read more.

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