Phishing is an online scam/ fraudulent activity where criminals send fake emails or set up a fake website that looks like it belongs to a legitimate organization. It could also be online banking information such as credit cards or Social Security numbers.
Phishing has been around since the 1990s but has become more sophisticated and widespread in recent years. Phishers can use various methods to carry out their attacks, but the most common method is email.
History of Phishing
The first phishing attack occurred in the early days of the internet when a malicious actor impersonated America Online (AOL) to trick users into giving up their personal information. AOL quickly shut down this early phishing scam, but it paved the way for more sophisticated attacks targeting users of all online services.
Over the years, phishing has evolved into a highly effective attack that can be executed to steal sensitive information like login credentials, financial data, and even personally identifiable information. While early phishing attacks were crude and easy to spot, modern phishing attacks are much more sophisticated and difficult to detect.
Even though phishing attacks have been around for over two decades, they are still an effective way for attackers to access sensitive information.
Phishing in its Current Form
Phishers use different and innovative ways to carry out their fraudulent activities. For example, phishers use various methods to lure victims. Once a phisher lured a victim, they trick them into sharing their sensitive information, which can be used to steal their money or identity or even infect their computers with malware.
So, phishing is a serious threat to individuals and businesses, and it’s essential to know how it works to prevent it.
How to Spot a Phishing Attempt?
Unexpected or unsolicited communications
Emails containing â€œurgent requestsâ€ or threats.
Misspellings or grammatical errors.
Suspicious links or attachments
Spoofed email addresses or domains
A message with unfamiliar greetings or salutations
A message asking for a bank account number or an OTP
How to Know if You are Being Phished?
When you receive a message or email from a phisher, it’ll look like an email from a legitimate source. However, the sender’s address may be slightly different, or there may be a small typo in the email address.
The message may contain threats with urgency to get you to act quickly. Phishers often create fake websites that look identical to the actual website of the company they are trying to impersonate. If you hover over the link in the email, you may see that the URL isn’t going to the company they’re pretending to be it’ll go to a completely different website.
They will also use spoofed telephone numbers to trick you into calling them. The number may seem to be from a legitimate company, but when you call it, you will be connected to a phisher who will try to get your personal information.
How to Protect Against Phishing Attacks?
When it comes to phishing attacks, prevention is critical; you can take steps to protect yourself and your organization from being targeted. If you spot any suspicious link in the email, hover the mouse over it before clicking it.
If it reveals any domain or URL that isn’t what they’re pretending to be, don’t click on it and immediately delete the mail. A legit company will never force you to go to any URL or ask for your personal information by email or other electronic means.
The phishers often use a brand name or any organization name that isn’t real. Don’t download any images, documents, or files attached to an email unless you know what you’re reading.
They will impersonate a big brand to trick you, but you must be careful when you reply to emails or answer calls. Keep your software and anti-virus up to date. It will help ensure you are protected against the latest scams.
If you receive an email in which the person asks for money and says their financial situation isn’t good, know it’s a scam. No matter how much they try to ask or get sympathy, don’t trust them. If you find something unusual, you can report it immediately to the relevant authorities.
How to Report Phishing?
A multinational alliance called the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) works to combat cybercrime. Send any suspicious emails to this organization at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phishing is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences for individuals and businesses. It’s important to be aware of the dangers of phishing and take steps to protect yourself and your business from this attack.
You can also take legal action if someone has manipulated you and you’re facing any problems due to phishing attacks. It’s advisable to report any phishing attack or attempt to the authorities or any organization that oversees phishing cases.