Stay Vigilant – Understand Phishing to Stay Safe from Virtual Thieves:
In today’s world, we are well aware of the security threats around us. Our most valued possessions have become accessible, only just a click away. Understand Phishing to Stay Safe is essential when you have to deal with everything online. However, the most crucial part is to secure the digital information that we carry with us all the time. Digital data has taken more importance than the valuables we have in our security deposits. Cybercrime is an ever-evolving creature with its attacks improving constantly.
Let’s understand with an example:
Recently one of the clients was a target of the phishing attack that caused the alarms. Let’s call him Kim. Here’s what happened.
Kim received an email from another colleague. Let’s call him John. Kim and John regularly corresponded via emails. The email that kin received was just like other emails. But with an exception. Its labelled “important document” with a request to download a file via a hyperlink.
Since he knew the sender, he clicked the link. However, he felt odd because he was not expecting any correspondence after hours. As the link opened, it looked like a good Google page asking him to enter his password. Kim entered his password and tried to download the file. But the error message appeared asking for the password again.
Understand Phishing to Stay Safe is what Kim relied on. Already suspicious, Kim contacted John to ask about the mail and downloading a file. But John denied sending the file. Kim immediately got the tech support and informed them of the attack.
The IT branch responded swiftly. Department advised him to change his password. Run other preventive tests. Consequently, the vigilant employee tackled the attack with excellent tech support.
Understand the Dynamics of a Cyber Attack
To understand phishing, first, let’s know what a cyber-attack is? The answer is pretty much in the question.
In the most straightforward words, it happens when cybercriminals:
- Attack our digital system and get unauthorized access.
- Steal, alter or expose our valued and personal information,
- Disable and destroy our systems and networks,
- and use our system for further attacks.
We come across different cyber attacks every day. Some are minor and easily removed with an antivirus.
But, what about the one which antivirus doesn’t know. Our digital data becomes exposed. As a result, hackers make illegal purchases, steal money and valuables, or identity theft.
Let’s Talk about Phishing:
Did you get an email that you have a problem with your bank account? Or send your password to verify some data? Are services about to expire? Or fill out this form or participate in this survey to win a prize? Well, this is the most common kind of cyber attack. “Phishing.” A hacker pretends to be a reliable source and asks the user to open an email, text message, or instant message.
As it opens, the hacker enters the system and steals user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. You can lose money, and the hacker can use your system for any purpose. Unknowingly, you opened your digital door to a virtual stranger. Free to wander in your system wherever he likes. The hacker may take any information and use your system to his like.
Types of Phishing:
A targeted attack is spear phishing. It is an attempt to hack into the system of a specific person or a company. Because the invader mostly knows the target. So he/she is more organized and research-based. Initially, the hacker gathers the information of the target from social sites. Then uses email as a marketing tool.
The email has a standard quality and seems to belong to a legitimate business. Finally, the email redirects to a link where you put in the password. Voila! The hacker got what he/she wanted. The most common targets are financial personnel to access financial data.
This type, called CEO fraud, too, targets the highest level of a company. The executives receive links. It makes them reveal the company’s most sensitive data or transfer of funds.
It is a manipulative concept. Cat phishing involves a person fashioning a social network presence. A fictional person manipulates someone into a romantic relationship. It starts with the promise of a real-life romance. Through this drama, Hacker tries to gain access to the target’s money and resources.
this type of attack uses a legitimate pre-delivered email containing a link. Hacker replaces the connection with his/her link. Resultantly, the hacker appears like a genuine link. This type of phishing occurs after the hacker is already in the system. And his information gathered to launch a fresh attack.
Along with email attacks, there are phishing websites too. We browse various sites that seem legitimate; in reality, they are phishing sites. Moreover, users frequently visit pages from the links within phishing emails. A pop-up appears in standard web surfing. A skilled hacker hides the phishing page in a simple site and makes you a victim.
Now to the part where we learn how to save ourselves from phishing.
First, be aware of such emails. However, one cannot stay vigilant all the time.
If the attack happens, then:
Immediately disconnect your system from Wi-Fi. The hacker must not install malware on your system. Change your passwords. Thoroughly scan your computer for viruses. Next, contact the spoofed company and make them aware of the fraud. Let your email provider or the utility company, or the employer know of the breach.
If you gave away your financial information, make the bank aware. Cancel your existing cards and get new ones. Especially take all necessary steps to halt someone impersonating you.
Furthermore, there are forums like the Anti-Phishing Working Group, where you can file a complaint. And last, prepare yourself against future phishing schemes. Equally important, open only the verified emails from your bank and other companies. And Try not to download from suspicious links. Always stay careful.
For larger organizations and businesses, cybersecurity companies provide round-the-clock security. To address the problem of phishing, these companies offer step-by-step ways to dodge this problem effectively.
The first step is to develop the customized phishing tests for the business because most cybersecurity breaches start with phishing. To keep the employees vigilant, specially designed tests afloat in the company divisions. Results compiled and regarding policies developed.
Finally, the last step is the synchronization of the employee database with the security company. They could analyze and protect your data. Tracking with a unique platform in real-time, the company pools human and machine tech to provide active protection against attacks.
Article By Afsheen Mujtaba
Edited and Managed by Javeria Qadeer