what-is-phishing

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a cybercrime in which any deliberate target or targets are contacted through emails, telephone, or text messages by someone who shadows himself as a potential genuine institution to drive users into trusting them and gather sensitive information such as banking card details or personal identification.

The information is then abused to access accounts that, as a consequence, result in identity theft and stolen finances, respectively. Hackers use fake websites to gather highly sensitive information from users and credit card details to cash out money from their accounts.

Besides email phishing, there is also website phishing and vishing (voice phishing), and other methods adopted by cyber attackers

Common features of phishing emails

Too good to be true

Attention-grabbing offers and eye-catching deals can leave anyone in a fix to attract the attention of users almost instantly. For example, many users claim that they have won a free mobile device or bonus cash. Attention to all is that never click suspicious links since that is just used to gather your information, leading to some serious threats. It seems all good in the first place but it isn’t!

Sense of urgency

A popular strategy amongst cyber attackers is to make you act out fast. For instance, some might state to respond to the email to avail a specific offer, or that they have to provide account details now to win lavish prizes, it’s just best to ignore them. Sometimes, these attackers state that your account will be suspended in a couple of hours, making it seem that it’s mandatory to fill the details. However, most reputable organizations give you ample time to overlook or update your details. A point to be noted for all individuals that visit the source of origin directly rather than clicking the link.

Hyperlinks

A link may not seem what it’s supposed to be. Placing your cursor over the link will display you the full link address but, you might get directed to a completely different malicious link. Misspelled words in links are something to look out for, which can help you easily identify if it’s a genuine website or not.

Attachments

If you notice an attachment in your email, never open it. The attachment might have ransomware or payload hidden behind the attachment. The only file type of opening is which has a .txt extension.

Unusual sender

Whether the person you know has sent you something that you are doubtful of, or you feel incredibly suspicious about it don’t open it

Though hackers are continually coming up with new strategies to crawl into your system and access highly sensitive information, there are some ways to protect you

  • Protection against spam emails can be done through spam filters. Generally, these filters access the source origin, the software used to deliver the message, and the layout of the message to identify if it’s a spam email or not.
  • Monitoring systems are used to prevent phishing; individuals can report such cases and legal actions taken against them
  • A secure website always has a valid secure socket layer that begins with an “Https” extension. So if it isn’t present there, avoid going to such websites.
Ather Owais Ather Owais is a tech and cybersecurity enthusiast. He is a strong advocate for online privacy and security, following technological trends and their impact on today's digital era.

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