All About Phishing Scams
Of all the scam methodologies, phishing is the most sophisticated and specific one. Innocent-looking emails in your inbox posing as some attractive deal, business offer, or from your known authoritative can cost you much more than you can ever imagine – data loss, system failure, reputational and financial loss.
Several companies and common people have been fallen prey to phishing. 1 out of every 99 emails received is most probably a phishing attempt. Many incidents have been reported about companies who suffered reputational damage and propriety loss in the face of phishing attacks. Sometimes the damages were so irreparable to collapse the companies entirely.
What is phishing?
Phishing is a sophisticated approach used by scammers to manipulate the victim’s data to their interests. It is often carried out by sending the disguised emails. The email is portrayed as sent from someone victim knows such as a colleague, a request from a known organization, and so on. The victim is made to believe that the email has been sent from an authentic entity. So, the next thing the recipient would do is open the email. Such emails usually contain a link or some attachment. Upon clicking the link or downloading the attachment can be malicious enough to hijack, steal your data or disrupt your IT Infrastructure.
How phishing is executed?
Phishing is often done carefully as a campaign to get hands-on the victim’s valuable data. Phishing can be executed in different forms and each form is slightly different from the rest of all, though with a similar aim. The phishers are highly adept at what they do. If you are a non-business entity, you might be targeted with a link or attachment provided in email promising an attractive offer. Often, people from almost all walks get phished by a link to a free pornography site.
Phishers often twist the email addresses of known organizations by forging these email addresses into new resembling ones. The resemblance with the actual email address easily tricks the recipient into believing the email is not harmful. If one looks for spelling and the tone of the email, one will be able to recognize the fake email from an authentic one.
Who is most susceptible to phishing?
Everyone is susceptible to phishing attacks regardless of their identity, social status, their position, or designation within the company. It can be targeted towards employee/s, director/s, or VPs. It depends on the type of phishing adopted to target the victim.
Spearfishing is, however, the most specific of all phishing methods. The attacker knows the details about the target and would design the email befitting the victim’s identity. Whaling is the type of phishing that targets the entities holding higher ranks within a company or organization – such as a CEO. Clone phishing is the hardest one to detect because the victim receives the similar-looking email that he has already received. This encourages the victim to open the email and become a tool to execute the phisher’s plan.
How to prevent phishing?
Implementing endpoint security, updated software, and trusted antivirus coupled with the rest of the practices included in the network security regime can prevent the entry of malware into your system. Besides this, employee training and awareness about the phishing attack and prevention strategies can save the companies from a lot of trouble. Investing in employee training is a crucial part of prevention strategy as the weakest link in the security chain is human.