Phishing is a fake message that tries to trick you into providing your personal information such as your online bank account, log in and password, or your credit card details. How does it work?
You receive an email from what appears to be your bank, post office, phone company, or a government department. Phishing is a disguised to appear that it comes from an organization you know to make them seem credible and real. They are sent to people in different ways such as a claim that your parcel is ready to be delivered or you have a bill that’s overdue. It tricks you to giving your personal information by including a link for you to click on, or an attachment to open. When you click on such link, you will be taken to a form or website where you will be asked to confirm your personal details. The sender will use compelling reasons for why they need your details. It could be that your account or card has expired or they need to look into an authorized activity in your account, you need to pay an invoice fee or complete an application, or claim a winning money of some sort. This cyber-crime is well-known across IT solutions companies.
If you hand over these details, you allow a cyber-criminal to steal money from your bank account, spend money from your credit cards, or steal your identity. IT support specialists have heard similar grievances from individuals or companies. Phishing does not exempt anyone in this digital world.
How to Recognize Phishing Attacks
Emails that ask for login credentials or billing information.
As mentioned, phishing scams deceive you by masquerading as legitimate organizations. Nowadays, hackers make use of the information they collected from data breaches to disguise itself as a service that you can utilize. These malicious emails often ask you to verify your accounts to obtain the user information necessary to compromise accounts. There are also some cases when these emails contain malicious links that trigger phishing attacks when clicked.
It’s only important that you are careful with the emails you receive. If you receive a message that prompts you to enter your login details, be wary of it. See to it that you verify the legitimacy of this email first and make it a practice not to click links carelessly.
Poorly made designs and rife with grammatical errors.
A genuine institution takes its time to present high-quality websites and proofread emails, otherwise, that’s a tell-tale sign that something fishy is going on. Although this attack has grown more sophisticated over the years, there are still other phishing scams that still tend to overlook this detail so pay attention to these small details.
Services that had its security breached in the past.
More often than not, you become more susceptible to phishing attacks when your data has been stolen even just once. There is a black market for stolen information on the dark web. Through this access, hackers can piece data together to generate phishing campaigns. Businesses have been advised to look into their service providers’ IT security reputation. If you subscribed to an organization that has been attacked by security threats before so be cautious with the unsolicited emails you receive.
Deals that are too good to be true.
Be wary of emails that offer good and easy deals. There’s always a catch. These emails prompt victims to click a link where they can input their login or payment information. After filling up this form, the website will notify the users that the transaction couldn’t be completed and then the data they put in will be sent straight to the hackers.
In March 2018, internet security researchers that looked into phishing scams found out that there are phishing kits for sale on the dark web. These kits imitate the branding elements of well-known organizations. Hence, making it easier for hackers to generate seemingly legitimate phishing emails.
Aside from that, there are also instances when hackers use ads on websites to redirect users to phishing sites. In most cases, these ads can be found in online shops and banking sites. This is because it’s easier to capture financial data through these sites. Keep an eye out for this phishing red flag.
Missed voicemail messages from an unfamiliar source.
It is undeniable that cybersecurity threats became more sophisticated over the years. One phishing approach that became prevalent recently is infected voicemail files. With online PBX and email services integrated into businesses, hackers started to disguise threats like malware into voicemail attachments. Once these voicemails are opened, a malicious code prompts phishing attacks in the victim’s device.
Suspicious link to an application.
Many hackers today make use of malicious links or app links to exploit user accounts. That’s why you must never blindly click on the links you receive. Make it a habit to be mindful of the links you open when using your device to avoid phishing attacks and bring trouble into your business.
At present, Facebook Messenger and SMS text messages are the popular battlegrounds for this these phishing attack. Keep an eye out for this phishing red flag when using these applications.
An email that contain your password.
With the looming cybersecurity threats these days, companies never include password details in emails and other communication mediums. You may not realize this right away, but this mistake can increase your susceptibility to phishing campaigns. You should see to it that it raises warning flags when you receive an email that has your password in it to ensure the safety and security of your business’ IT security.
Unusual emails from someone within your company.
Everybody has their behavior and tone pattern when sending an email. That’s why if you feel like your colleague’s email seems a bit off, it’s ideal that you verify the email’s credibility by following it up with a quick phone call to verify the authenticity.
Over the years, several phishers have leveraged company email to pretend to be a colleague or legitimate source. Through this, many of them can trick users into clicking a malicious link, sending a bank transfer, and sharing confidential information, thus, an email that’s out of character became one of the popular red flags of a phishing attack.
Unexpected Wi-Fi network choices.
Not everyone knows this but sometimes hackers pose as Wi-Fi networks. Once their victims connect to these spoofed networks, these cybercriminals can compromise your devices and harvest their browsing session data. Exercise caution when connecting to public networks. One way that you can do that is by checking whether or not you’re connecting to the right public domain.
If you want to keep your device safe from these phishing campaigns, it is recommended by IT professionals that you avoid connecting to public networks. When you use a private network or device hotspot to make sure that the networks you connect to are safe and secure.
Suspicious social share.
One of the phishing attacks that has been recorded to have a high success rate is the one that leverages social sharing. More often than not, phishers make their victims think that their friend is endorsing a message. Little do they know that it is used by these cybercriminals to exploit user information. For that past few years, this strategy has made it malicious links and infected attachments more tempting to click, and so it was able to victimize numerous end-users in the business world for a long while.
A phishing attack is indeed a dangerous security threat to be entangled with. That’s why you must keep your eyes open for these red flags to lessen your susceptibility to this cyberattack.
For a long time, House of IT has assisted numerous companies to avoid the damages that phishing campaigns can inflict. With our expertise in the field of information technology, many have increased their IT environment’s defenses from these threats.