What is Phishing Attack in Cyber Security?
Phishing is one of the most common cyber attacks. This is inspired by real hook fishing where the fish is tricked by the fisher using an undercover hook. In the vast field of cyber security, this type of attack is a part of social engineering attacks. The medium of phishing attacks is electronic communication such as emails embedded with cloned pages of legitimate sites, text messages with malicious links, multimedia messages, etc.
A short history of Phishing Attacks:
In January 1996, the first phishing attack came into being. A group of scammers contacted people via emails and instant messages and told them: They are approaching them from their internet service provider America Online (AOL). They sent phishing emails and messages to the users and stole their passwords. By the year 2003, Phishers took their attention to grabbing credit card details so they started buying domains similar to legit websites of online stores and banking sites like E-bay, Paypal, etc. & sent tons of emails and messages with the context asking them to update their credit card information. Since that, phishing attacks are constantly evolving & fraudulent try different techniques overtime to trick innocent people.
There are several types of phishing attacks.
1. Email Phishing:
Most Phishing attacks are conducted by sending emails to the victim. The fraudulent uses social engineering techniques while writing phishing emails. Phishers always do detailed research on their victim, eg: victim’s name, occupation, designation, nature of victim’s job, etc. They create an urgency scenario and call to action strategy where the victim has less time to think or investigate the email.
2. Spear Phishing:
Spear Phishing is the second most common type of phishing attack. The special or most particular employee of a company or organization such as a database manager can be a targeted victim. Fraudulent composes emails containing the victim’s details to build trust and make his effort successful. Once the victim follows the email directions the fraudulent gets access to his desired service.
Whaling refers to the sea creature (the whale phish). As the whale fish is the biggest in the sea we compare it with the high profile executes of the companies & organizations like CFOs, CEOs or directors, etc. These high profiles are targeted in whaling. Phishers target these victims by sending them legit-looking emails to get the approvals of large amount transfers or to gain access to the confidential information.
Smishing is also known as SMS phishing. Fraudulent often send short text messages to trick the victims by directing them to click the attached link quickly otherwise they’ll face problems. Smishing is widely used to steal bank details like credit card information, login details, and other sensitive information.
Vishing stands for voice phishing. Simply we can say that vishing is a phone call by phishers. They pretend to be calling from a bank or any other likewise authority and ask them for certain information to manipulate than after.
As the digital presence of people increases, day by day the threat of phishing attacks also increases. Also, the number of fraudulent people increases along with freely available phishing scripts on the internet. Anyone without any knowledge of programming can do this script kidding. Whereas people across the globe search for how to prevent phishing attacks on different search engines. Here are some tips to prevent phishing attacks.
?How to Identify a Phishing Attack
1. Extra-ordinary offers: Phishers try to manipulate human greed. They offer the victim unbelievable offers like “You won the million-dollar prize”. Try to avoid and block emails with extraordinary offers and unbelievable claims.
2. Forcing for Immediate Actions: Never make decisions on an urgent basis. Phishers often use an urgent accent to subconsciously force the victim to follow their directions. Always be aware of that and never make decisions in such a hurry situation.
3. Undercovered Links (Hyperlinks): whenever you read the emails or other text documents containing hyperlinks always properly verify them before clicking them because of fraudulent cover their suspicious links under the title of reputable websites. for example facebook.com in this example we have covered the actual link with the reputable domain.
4. Attached Files: Files received via emails must be scanned with reputable antivirus software because these files contain malicious code that can affect your system with the high potential risk of remotely executable code fraudulent can manipulate that file after the successful execution. In short, never accept, execute, or open any type of email attachment without a proper scan.
5. The New Or Anonymous Sender: Emails and text messages sent from outside of your friend circle and outside of your company. Emails from strangers are likely to contain suspicious links and attachments.
Tips to prevent phishing attacks:
1. Never click any link sent by anyone either go through the told website by using search engines like Google, Bing, or duckduckgo.
2. Always keep an eye on your browser’s address bar. Most of the phishing attacks can be caught there. In the address bar if a website starts with (http://) it is not secure rather than it starts with (https://). Here the letter ‘s’ denotes SSL certification means the website is secure.
3. Use anti-phishing browser extensions because they alert you every time it happens.
4. Regularly changing the passwords can also help you to prevent phishing attacks. Always try to set your passwords highly secure, the combination of letters, special characters, and symbols is considered secure.
5. You should always use an updated firewall to prevent phishing attacks. Firewalls provide you the ultimate security not only from phishing attacks but it secures you from other types of attacks too.
If you can understand Hindi or Urdu language you can check out this video on Youtube to better understand how the actual phishing attack works and how these phishing scripts and toolkits are easily available for everyone. Anyone with zero knowledge of these things can easily access these unlawful tools. To summarize, in today’s world we have to be extremely careful about our online security and never follow the direction of any stranger.