22 Mar
2023
8
min read

Phishing 101

A phishing email is a cyber-attack in which the attacker creates a fake email that appears to be from a trusted source to trick recipients into following dangerous instructions. This could involve sending money, opening an attachment, clicking a link, or submitting sensitive data.

Harmony Chidera

Why do phishing scams work so well?

I've summed it up in two points.

1. Poor Email Security: Phishing attempts are successful in large part because phishing emails are often not prevented from getting to the mailbox. This is due to ineffective email screening, which is exacerbated by an email spoofing method. As a result, attackers can fake the sender's address. It would be impractical to establish rigorous email settings due to the broad range of business email communication. For instance, to only accept emails from contacts or to restrict access to particular file attachments. There are also instances where employees may be taken advantage of by internal spear phishing coming from a trusted (but compromised) account. 

2. The Human Element: Phishing assaults fall under the umbrella of a class of online attacks called social engineering. Social engineering is the art of manipulating others to take on certain activities. In a computer network, people are viewed as weak links. Most workers know very little or nothing about network security. This is caused by a dearth of cybersecurity training that would increase security awareness and impart best practices. Employees may be aware of security issues to some extent, but it is nearly difficult for them to be always on guard. Sometimes you simply are too exhausted or in a rush to read every email. Attackers are well aware of this and fully utilize it.

Having known what phishing emails are, let's see some ways that we can actually avoid them. I've summed it up in five steps.

Learn how to spot phishing scams

New techniques for phishing attacks are constantly being created. They do, however, have similarities that can only be found if you know what to search for. People can learn about the latest phishing assaults and their key indicators from a variety of web sources. The sooner you learn about the most recent attack techniques, the more likely it is that an attack won't happen.

Phishing emails and texts will typically appear to be from a business you know and trust, such as your bank, insurance agency, or even your credit card company. Social networking platforms are also frequently used in phishing attacks.

Phishing emails frequently use deceptive storytelling to persuade you to open a link or even a dangerous attachment.

These emails could state

  • They have seen unusual activity on your account
  • You are entitled to a refund
  • There is an issue with your account
  • You can get free items
  • An erroneous invoice is included, and you are asked to confirm certain personal information.
  • Please change your payment information

Be wary of truncated links

Shortened links make it simple for attackers to deceive you into clicking while hiding the genuine name of a website. Shortened URLs are used by hackers to lure recipients to imposter websites where they can steal sensitive data. Always hover your cursor over the shortened link to reveal the destination page before clicking.

Never respond to an unwanted request for personal information

Prevent Identity Theft and Phishing Attempts

Never give your personal information away in response to an unauthorized request, whether it comes from the phone or the internet. Phishers may utilize a false version of the padlock icon, which typically indicates a secure site, to produce emails and web pages that appear just like the real thing. As a result, if you did not start the communication, you should not give any information.

Download free anti-phishing add-ons

Currently, the majority of browsers let you install add-ons that warn you about well-known phishing websites or help you identify the telltale characteristics of a rogue website. Install these on all of your devices if you haven't already as they are typically entirely free.

Employ firewalls

The best firewalls serve as barriers between your computer and outside intruders and you. A network firewall (a form of hardware option) and a desktop firewall are the two types you should utilize (a type of software option). Together, these firewalls greatly minimize the likelihood that hackers and phishers will gain access to the machine and your network.

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The first step in securing yourself and your business is to be aware of the dangers of phishing attempts and some of the most typical email ruses used by thieves. especially considering how many of your employees work remotely. But, by using this list, you can better comprehend how phishing scams operate. Cybercriminals are masters at playing on your emotions, and phishing tactics are quite sophisticated.

Q&A

Question 1: What is  phishing email, and why is it dangerous?

Phishing email is a type of scam that uses deceptive tactics to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information, such as passwords or card numbers. It's dangerous because it can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and other types of cybercrimes.

Question 2: How do I identify a phishing emai?l

Look out for suspicious sender addresses, generic greetings, urgent or threatening language, and requests for personal or financial information. Be wary of links or attachments in emails, and hover over them to check the URL before clicking.

Question 3: How can I prevent phishing attack?

Verify the senders address before responding to an email or clicking on any links. Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication for all accounts. Install anti-phishing softwares, and keep your operating system and anti-virus system up to date.

Question 4: What should I do if I receive a phishing email?

Do not respond to it, click on any links or open any attachments. Report it as spam or phishing to your email provider, and delete it immediately.

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