Phishing

Learn about phishing, its categories, associated risks, and protection methods, along with real-life examples.

Phishing is a form of cyberattack that seeks to deceive and manipulate individuals into divulging sensitive information, such as passwords, financial data, or personal details, by posing as a trustworthy entity. This deceptive tactic plays on human psychology and exploits the inherent trust people place in familiar brands, institutions, and communication channels. The rise of phishing attacks has led to significant financial losses, data breaches, identity theft, and compromised privacy for countless individuals and entities.

Categories

Email phishing

Email phishing is a type of attack that is typically done through fraudulent emails that mimic the appearance of legitimate communications from reputable sources like banks, social media platforms, online services, or even government agencies. Phishing emails often contain malicious attachments, which, after opening them, typically install malware.

Spear phishing

Unlike generic phishing attacks that cast a wide net in hopes of catching many victims, spear phishing is more precise and tailored to exploit the personal information, interests, and relationships of the targeted individuals. In spear phishing attacks, attackers conduct thorough research to gather information about their targets. Best practice for preventing this type of attack is to limit the information that you're sharing publicly on the internet.

Smishing

Smishing, short for 'SMS phishing,' is an attack that involves sending fraudulent text messages to individuals to trick them into clicking on malicious links, downloading malicious attachments, or most often sharing sensitive financial data (e.g., credit card numbers). Most likely, the attacker will send you an SMS message or text message on popular social apps (Facebook, WhatsApp) that contains a malicious link that looks like an official website of some government agency or bank. The attacker tries to convince you to enter some sensitive data about yourself.

Vishing

Vishing, short for 'voice phishing,' is an attack where attackers use voice communication, typically over phone calls, to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information, such as personal identification numbers (PINs), passwords, credit card numbers, or other confidential data. The attackers often offer investments with high returns or great deals on your electricity bills most of the time.

Risks

Protection

General recommendations

  1. Education and Awareness: Regularly educate employees, family members, and yourself to recognize common signs of phishing, such as unfamiliar senders, urgent requests, and generic greetings.
  2. Verify Sender: Always scrutinize the sender's email address before taking any action. Pay attention to small variations or misspellings in the email address, as cybercriminals often use similar-looking addresses to trick recipients.
  3. Think Before Clicking: Be cautious when encountering links or attachments in emails, especially from unknown sources. Phishers often use enticing language to manipulate recipients into clicking on malicious links or downloading harmful attachments.
  4. Use MFA: Strengthen your account security by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. MFA requires an additional verification step beyond your password, making it significantly more challenging for unauthorized individuals to access your accounts.
  5. Strong Passwords: Create strong, complex passwords using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Utilize a different password for each account to prevent a single breach from compromising multiple accounts.
  6. Beware Urgency: Be cautious when emails pressure you to take immediate action. Phishers often use urgency as a tactic to create panic and prevent recipients from thinking critically about the situation.
  7. Email Filters: Employ spam filters and reputable security software to filter out potential phishing emails. These tools can help identify and quarantine suspicious messages.
  8. Check Website Security: Before entering personal information or credentials on a website, ensure that it uses a secure connection with 'https://' or a 'lock' icon in the address bar.
  9. Be Cautious on Social Media: Limit the personal information you share on social media platforms. Cybercriminals often gather publicly available data to create targeted phishing attacks that appear more convincing.
  10. Report Suspicious Emails: If you receive an email that appears suspicious, report it to your IT department (if at work) or the relevant platform's support team.

How Redamp.io helps in protection

  1. Reviewing Privacy Policies: We are regularly checking the privacy policies and permissions of apps that are installed on your devices.
  2. Informing You About Data Breaches: You can scan your personal or company email addresses on our platform to get information about data breaches associated with your accounts.
  3. Education of Your Employees/Family Members: We also offer our education platform for your employees to prevent, for example, social engineering attacks.

What We're Planning Next in Protection

  1. Safe Surfing: A new way to block access to malicious domains for all your devices with the use of DNS protection.

Real-life Examples