Phishing Scams in 2019 – How to Stay Safe
Thanks to the world wide web, we can access the whole planet without leaving our homes. Gone are the days of library visits for research, movie theater outings for movies, or grocery store runs to obtain food.
However, this ramped-up ease of access to our world is a double edged sword. Just as we’re capable of dialing into the world by simply clicking a mouse, the world is able to gain access to us with the similar ease.
Malevolent actors across the globe prey on victims residing in different continents, countries, and time zones, using the internet to perpetrate phishing scams as well as other damaging online crimes. Worst of all, they do this with little fear of arrest or repercussions due to the befuddling web of jurisdictions caught up in the attack.
As a result, it’s best that you know how to steer clear of phishing scams. Learn how recognize and avoid these headache-inducing attacks by reading the rest of this article, and discover how to guarantee the safety of your browsing experience.
What Defines a Phishing Scam?
Remember the old fairy tale, “Little Red Riding Hood?” In it, a malevolent wolf eats the protagonist’s grandmother, and then puts on her clothes, claiming she’s her loving Nana in the hopes of getting to devour the heroine, as well.
Similarly, phishing scams utilize cyber-disguises to assault unwitting victims. As its name suggests, phishing involves the use of a “lure” or “bait” to deceive targets, and is characterized by emails claiming to originate from a trusted and known source.
Frequently, these scams link to a website, known as a Spoof Site, that closely mimics the one of a known company.
On this page, users are asked for important information such as their social security number, credit card details, and other pieces of data that can be hijacked for profit.
At times, the Spoof Site will simply directly request money. Regardless of how it’s carried out, one thing is for certain – The consequences to the credit score, bank account, job security, company, and peace of mind or a person who’s fallen for the lure can be devastating.
How Many “Phish” are there in the Sea?
Cyber crime is always evolving, and online predators are constantly crafting new schemes for fooling victims into revealing their personal details. However, the most frequently employed attacks used by Phishing scammers include: cloning, whaling, and spearing. Don’t fret, we’ll address their meanings soon!
This modality of phishing attack has one of the deadliest records, with over 91% of victims falling for the trap. Personalization and the authentic-looking nature of the Spoof sites used in these scams are the driving factors behind their effectiveness.
Many times, they include sprinklings of the target’s personal information, heightening the authentic nature of the Spoof site and making the email more convincing. These types of attacks are used when trying to access credentials in an individual’s possession, or in the pursuit of a high-value target’s information.
This futuristic-sounding manner of attack is very much a threat today. With the help of malware installed within a system, cyber criminals can “clone” a previously-delivered email and alter its contents to make it suit their purposes.
Oftentimes, the email will purport to offer a correction or update to a message received earlier on, and will redirect responses to a nearly-identical email address. Not only can clone attacks help gain data about a recipient, but they can serve as vectors into uninfected systems.