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What is Phishing and its Types, Working and How to Prevent it

What is the Meaning of Phishing?

Phishing is described as a fraudulent activity that is done to steal confidential user information such as credit card numbers, login credentials, and passwords. It is usually done by using email or other forms of electronic communication by pretending to be from a reliable business entity.

What are the Common Techniques of Phishing Attacks?

There are several techniques of phishing attack that are followed across the world. Some of the common ones are:

  • Smishing: This refers to sending SMSs by pretending to be a trustworthy organisation. This SMS will have content that will persist readers to give out their confidential data. It can also have harmful links.
  • Pharming: This refers to modifying an IP address to take the user to a malicious website instead of the actual website. When you enter your username and password on the incorrect site, hackers can use your information for fraud activities.
  • Vishing: This refers to using phone calls for getting a person’s confidential information. This is usually done by setting up Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) that helps a phisher to imitate a reliable company. You may be asked to give details related to your credit card or password.
  • Dating scams: Fraudsters use dating sites and social media to trick users by starting an online romance. The scammer slowly starts to ask the user for money.

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What are the Types of Phishing Scams and Phishing Attacks?

There are several types of phishing scams. Some of them are:

  • Loyalty point scams: There are several loyalty point programmes these days. However, they may not be entirely safe. Phishers can easily hack into such accounts and use up the points in your account and even get access to confidential data that is stored in your loyalty account such as your account number, credit card number, etc.
  • strong>Content injection: This refers to modifying some content on a website so that a click on the altered content can lead the user to a malicious website. The user will then be asked to key in personal details.
  • Session hijacking: This is exploiting a computer session. This is done by getting unauthorised access to computer data or services. The attacker takes over the user session by understanding the session cookie. This is common in online banking transactions.
  • Whaling: Whaling refers to a scamming high profile people in companies such as CEO, COO, etc. It is called so since it is like attacking only the whales of a sea.

How to Identify a Phishing Email?

These are some of the common aspects that will help you identify a phishing email:

  • The email will offer a very impressive benefit that seems difficult to believe.
  • You are marked in CC in an email with recipients whom you don’t know.
  • The email content is suspicious or frightening.
  • The mail has strange attachments or suspicious links. These may have some online threat like malware or ransomware.
  • The email has subtle wrong spellings, especially in the case of company names or names of company programmes.

What will Happen if I Reply to a Phishing Email?

If you reply to a phishing email, it may lead you to a malicious website and you will be asked to key in sensitive information. Soon, your bank account can get drained.

How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks?

  • Get an anti-phishing toolbar. This will review the sites that you visit and check if any site is a part of the recognised phishing sites. If it is, you will get an alert.
  • Stay up to date about phishing scams. There are new phishing techniques coming up every day. You can also participate in simulated phishing and security awareness training sessions on a regular basis to be aware.
  • Get antivirus software for security.
  • Review the security of a site before you provide confidential information.
  • Change passwords of your various online accounts frequently.
  • Make sure you update your browser regularly.
  • Get a desktop firewall as well as a network firewall.
  • It is better to block all pop-ups and allow only after checking them individually.

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