Phishing targets thousands of users every year. It is an unauthorized activity where someone sends you a luring message through a fake email address. This can be a lottery message or some amount credited to your bank account or any other way. Using this practice, many cybercrimes are accomplished on a daily basis. This threat has cost a lot to people, including money, information access, blackmailing, and whatnot.
This guide will take you through useful information about phishing that you need to know. We will also introduce you with some common types of phishing attacks and simple ways to identify and avoid them. So, stay connected!
Also Read: What is Malware? 7 Types of Malware You Should Know
What is Phishing?
Phishing is an online scam where criminals send alluring emails to the organization, user, and more to collect sensitive information. Mostly, this happens through a link sent by an unknown email domain. Clicking the links contained in such emails can put all your data is at risk. These emails can also lead to monetary losses. The intentions can vary from one phishing mail to another, but one thing is guaranteed i.e loss.
It has seen that most of the time, people aren’t even aware that they are being targeted by an phishing attack. Therefore, it is important to know the various kinds of phishing attacks targeting many people every day.
Some Common Phishing Types You Should Know
After getting noticed for the first time in 1987, phishing has developed into many different strategies. However, as digital technology advances, these attacks always come up with new ways to exploit people’s lives. The most comprehensive types of phishing are the following:
Common Email Phishing: In the form of the most widely known email phishing, this attack attempts to steal confidential information through emails making them appear from valid sources.
Malware Phishing: In this scenario, the attacker’s goal is to make you click on the link and download the infected attachment. This attachment further installs malware files to your system to make it compromised. This is currently the most widespread form of phishing attacks.
Spear Phishing: In this type of phishing, the attacker targets a group of people instead of individuals. The communication generally varies so that it appears to be coming from an authentic source. Spear phishing is generally the first step to break a company’s security system and make way for further attacks.
SEO Phishing: In this type of attack, Cybercriminals build a fake website and rank them on search engines to collect personal information. They generally target common keywords for ranking, or sometimes also run advertisements to boost the campaign.
Vishing: This is also one of the common phishing activities where the attacker calls people as tech support of reputed companies or authorized agencies and tries to extract personal information, bank details, debit/credit card details, etc.
Now, you are aware of the common phishing attacks, Now, let’s move on to find out the simplest ways to spot phishing emails and secure your account from such unauthorized activities.
3 Ways to Spot Phishing Emails
Firstly, we will let you know about the simple ways to spot phishing emails so that you can mark them as spam or simply avoid them.
1. Strange Character in URL: For every new email, you should first verify the email address. This is the most important step and can help you from the most unsafe emails. Then, you can also examine the content of the mail and also the links (if any) to decide if it’s genuine or look suspicious. You should never click on the links delivered in suspicious emails.
2. Avoid Alluring Emails: One of the easiest ways to trap a user in an email phishing attack is by offering them free rewards or prizes. Therefore, pay attention to the emails such as:
Greetings such as “Dear Customer” – Valid communication from the company you do business with usually contains your name like Dear “Your Name”.
Free Products and Services, Super-Supplier Travel Deals, Rewards, or Other Financial Proposals to notifying account issues, etc.
3. Unsolicited Phone Calls: Nowadays, your mobile phone might already identify spam callers and warns you before picking up the call. You can use applications such as Truecaller for this purpose. However, still, there can be calls asking for payment or debit card pin or offering free products and services from government agencies, utilities, banks, or significant companies.
How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?
There are few simple and workable tips to not get trap in any phishing activity. See the below key points.
Please check the “from” address of the email. If it says from American Bank or Apple or an unknown external domain, it could be an online scam.
The mouse hover on the link in the suspicious email reveals the correct address. You can also check URLs using tools such as Virus total and Google Safe Browsing.
Use Antivirus software to keep your system clean and updated. Also, enable the firewall and other security settings to block malicious attacks.
Develop a habit of using a strong and unique password for your online accounts. This reduces the chances of getting your profile hacked.
Never provide your personal, financial, or any other sort of information over the email unless you have verified everything about the domain.
In the above guide, we have talked about the phishing attack in the most straightforward form. It also helps you know the different forms of phishing activities happening in the world and how you can stay protected.