You get an email from your bank telling you to change your account’s username and password. You click on the attachment link sent with the email. It redirects you to the credential-changing page that looks like your bank’s website.
Then, it asks you to enter your old username and password, which you do without giving it a second thought, and when you hit enter, BAM! You have been hacked!
The next thing you know, your bank account is empty. All the money from your bank account is gone.
This is a classic example of “Phishing.”
Phishing is a technique for obtaining a target’s personal information through fake emails and websites. It is a highly sophisticated type of cyberattack. Hackers use phishing to deceive an email receiver into thinking the message is something they want or need.
In the word phishing, the term “Phish” is pronounced exactly how it is spelt, just like “fish.” As an illustration, imagine an angler casting a baited hook as a phishing email and hoping for a bite.
What makes phishing different from other cyberattacks is that the attacker impersonates as one of your trusted friends, coworker, relative, or other entity, plausibly a real person or firm with whom the victim may do business. It might also be a bank, a firm, or a piece of software you utilize.
So if you have an email and are connected to the Internet, you can also be the victim of phishing. But do you know how to protect yourself from phishing sites?
So anyone can be the target of a phisher. So on must be aware and prepared to protect themselves from getting phished. In this blog, I will talk about the working mechanism of phishing, various types of phishing, ways you can protect yourself from phishing sites, and what next steps you should take if you are already a victim of phishing.
- How Does Phishing Work?
- Types of Phishing
- How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Sites? |Best Ways|
- Actual Consequential Incident Of Phishing (Popular)
- What Can You Do if You Have Been Phished?
How Does Phishing Work?
Perhaps, a request from your bank, or a note from the employer of your company, instructing you to click a link and download an attachment, or an email warning you that your password has been breached and instructing you to change your password immediately are all examples of common phishing attacks used by phishers to obtain your password and personal information.
Phishing is the most straightforward method of obtaining someone’s password or personal information. Hackers obtain your email address from your social media accounts or the workplace website where you are now employed.
Then they send you an email that seems like it came from your business, bank, or social media site, asking you to change your current Gmail or bank account password. When you click the link, you will be redirected to the hacker’s website, a clone of your bank, social media, Gmail, or workplace website.
You enter your old password, attempting to update it to a new one, and the hacker gains access to your account and other data when you enter the password or any other data on that website. Consequently, you can easily fall victim to phishing attacks.
All that is required of the phisher is to clone the legitimate website. The entire log-in page has been modified to point to a page or script that steals credentials. The changed files are then put together in a compressed package known as a phishing kit. The compressed files are then uploaded to the compromised website and unzipped again. Finally, the attacker sends the recipients an email including links to the new fake website.
Types of Phishing
Phishing can be used for two different purposes depending on the objective. The first is to get sensitive information, in which the phishing tactic is used to trick the receiver into providing sensitive information such as a username and password, which the attacker can then use to gain access to a device or account.
The second one is to attack the victim’s device with malware or spyware. These phishing emails aim to deceive the receiver into downloading malware, spyware, or a bug onto their system. Frequently, messages are “soft targeted.” An employer or a coworker could send them with an attachment ostensibly containing a job offer.
The phisher can also use spying apps like MobileSpy, Cocosoy, FlexiSpy, Spyera as spying software to stealthily spy into your device. These are monitoring devices developed for monitoring your children and employees, but the phisher can use them wrongfully and use monitoring software as spyware to spy on you, without your knowledge.
Ransomware means taking “ransom” by encrypting your files and data. Ransomware is extortion malware that locks your computer and demands a fee to unlock it. What an attacker does is send you an email with a link attached to it. When you click on that link, the malware starts to download and gets installed on your device without you knowing.
So, the malware gets into your device initially. The entire operating system or particular files are encrypted depending on the type of ransomware. It can encrypt your operating drives or important files, and when you try to open it, it asks for a password.
Then the attacker demands ransom from the victim and only gives you the password to that encryption once you have given them their asked ransom. You can factory reset your device to get rid of that encryption, but of course, you will lose all your files.
Smishing is also a type of phishing in which a call or an SMS message is used to deceive you into giving up your personal information. Smishing is an emerging and growing issue in the world of Internet security. Social engineering tactics are used in smishing to induce you to reveal personal information. The smishing approach takes advantage of your trust to collect your facts.
A hacker could be looking for anything from your internet credentials to your bank account information or one-time passwords to gain access to your accounts. The attacker will utilize your credentials or required data to carry out a range of attacks once they obtain them.
Whale phishing, also known as whaling, is a type of spear phishing that focuses on high-value targets like CEOs, BODs, and executives. Many of these schemes target corporate board members, who are thought to be particularly vulnerable because they wield enormous power. They aren’t full-time employees. Thus they frequently communicate with clients using personal email addresses, which lack the protection of corporate email.
Spear phishing is the practice of impersonating a trustworthy sender and sending emails to specific and well-researched targets. The goal is to infect computers with malware or compel victims to provide personal data or valuable assets.
Hackers locate their targets using information from social media platforms such as LinkedIn and send emails that appear to be from coworkers using fake addresses. A spear phisher, for example, could target someone in the financial department and act as the victim’s boss, wanting a significant bank transfer immediately.
How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Sites? |Best Ways|
Understand the different scamming emails phishers can send you
Scammers use email and websites to hone their skills, attempt new pitches, and pull new strings. Examining the email messages sent by scammers is one approach to become familiar with their methods. I’ve compiled a collection of phishing scam emails that a hacker could send you.
- Mail to reset your account’s password: “Reset your Password” is the first type of email scam. Using the reality that no one likes to miss a paycheck, ads like this try to deceive the user into providing personal and important information, such as a login or password, which an attacker can exploit to penetrate a system or account.
- Mail claiming that someone has hacked your account: “Your account has been hacked” is the second type of email scam. The hacker can make you believe that someone is trying to hack your email account and force you into taking action. The sender of this scary phishing message discovered a group email on the company’s website that was publicly accessible.
- Mail requesting payments: “Payment requests” is the third type of email scam. Even the most phishing-savvy recipients will be put off by this email since it contains enough information relevant to the target firm. To avoid falling into this trap, you must be familiar with your company’s operations and be able to recognize irregularities.
- Mail for charity or donation: “Charity or Donation” is the fourth type of email scam. The scammer is relying on the recipient’s avarice and gullibility in this case. This frequent motif of giving anything away for free preys on human nature. The important thing that you should remember is that if anything sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Don’t be gullible and give in to such emails.
Do not fall for cyber threats
Phishers frequently threaten that your account has been disabled or that your password has been compromised. It’s best if you don’t fall for their deceptions. Please don’t act on it right away. ‘Haste makes waste,’ as the saying goes.
Most of the time, such threats are only false alarms designed to frighten the victim into handing up their personal information in a hurry. As a result, be calm when these scenarios arise. Allow yourself time to assess the issue and weigh your options. If you feel like someone is threatening you, instead of clicking on that threat mail, contact the cyber bureau of other legal authorities.
Check the email and site before entering your personal information
When you get an email from someone, whether it’s from work, your bank, or your friends and family, don’t answer or act on it right away. Examine that email for a moment. Take some time to check the email and any attachment sent with that email before you click it.
Examine domain names and email addresses for spelling and grammatical errors. Hackers and scammers sometimes use email addresses that are nearly identical to the names of well-known corporations or enterprises but with minor differences.
Instead of ‘[email protected],’ the hacker can send ‘[email protected].’ Both emails may appear identical to the recipient at first sight. The receiver replies to the message without thinking and clicks on the URL, allowing himself to be hacked.
But, if you look thoroughly, you can notice that the second email address, which has an extra ‘l’ in ‘Gmail at the end, is the fake one. Similarly, instead of ‘gmail.google.com,’ the hacker can redirect to ‘gmall.google.com’ and gets you to give away your information. Therefore, you must always be aware and thorough with the minor alterations that the phisher makes to deceive you.
Enable two-factor or biometric authentication
Enabling two-factor authentication on your device is the best way to protect your data, even if a phisher phishes your password. It helps to make your account secure. Even if the hackers crack your password, two-factor authentication demands an additional form of identification before they can access your account.
The other type of authentication is a pin issued to your phone or an email verification attachment. As a result, two-factor authentication keeps hackers out of your account. Even if the phisher gets a hold of your password, they must require a PIN that you receive in your cell phone or email.
The phisher can’t access the required PIN and thus can’t get into your account. Therefore, two-factor authentication helps you to save your data and other information.
With two-factor authentication, to make your account more secure, you can also use biometric authentication. To detect and allow access to a user, biometrics uses a fingerprint, face, speech, or retinal scan.
For biometric authentication, you have to present for verification. You can use it in smartphones to grant access to users using fingerprint and face recognition. Fingerprint biometrics can also be used in mobile payment transactions.
In biometric authentication, each fingerprint, retina, face, or voice is unique to the user, making it useful for two-factor authentication. To acquire access to some cell phones, for example, fingerprint recognition and passcodes may be required. So there is no way a phisher can get into your system with biometric authentication.
Actual Consequential Incident Of Phishing (Popular)
One of the most significant phishing attacks occurred in 2016 when Russian hackers tricked Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta into revealing his personal Gmail account password.
So, how did they pull it off?
The hackers informed John Podesta via email that his password had been compromised and that he should change it immediately. When he clicked on the link in that email, he was taken to a fake log-in page. The hacker gained access to John Podesta’s password and all crucial data and information through phishing. This is a typical ruse, and we’d all like to see it exposed for what it is.
What Can You Do if You Have Been Phished?
Before you go into full panic mode because you think you’ve been phished, double-check that you’ve been phished. It doesn’t mean you’ve been hacked just because you opened a suspicious email or downloaded a PDF or zip file. You must unzip the file or click the link in the email or PDF you opened to get phished.
Once you’ve determined that you’ve been the victim of a phishing scam, you’ll need to take steps to mitigate the threat. Here are a few things that you can do:
Change your credentials immediately
The immediate thing you should do is to change the username, password, or any other data that has been phished. If you feel like your Gmail account’s been hacked, change the password of your Gmail account. If your bank account has been hacked, change the credentials of your bank account. This gives you an upper hand over the hacker.
When you change the password of any accounts, it would be best if you use a strong password so that the hacker can’t guess the password once it has been changed. A password should always be at least eight characters long. Ensure to include various characters, digits, and random uppercase and lowercase letter combinations that have no apparent relation to you or your interests.
Avoid using repeating patterns in your password, such as at the beginning or end or with proper names. Instead of only using the characters you use the most, remember to use the entire keyboard. Also, don’t reuse old passwords or passwords representing your old password’s pattern.
Inform the concerned authority
The next thing you can do is inform the authorities who are related to your hacked platform. If the account of our bank has been compromised, then inform your bank about this. It will help the bank to take the necessary actions once you’ve been hacked. So get the word out.
If your company mail has been phished, to make everyone aware of the phishing scam, send out a company-wide notice. Use all available communication channels, including email, instant messaging, and SMS. To ensure that no one else falls victim to the scam, consider the various functions of your employees and what sort of communication they will respond to the most.
Scan your device
Phished can also install spyware or other spying software on your device once you click on the attached link to the email without you knowing. In this way, they can stealthily spy on your activist and get all of your information.
Therefore, you should check for any malware if you have opened an attachment or clicked on a link. Phishers frequently embed malicious coding that can capture keystrokes or take control of machines or networks. You should perform a scan to see whether your device has any dangerous code.
Remember not to touch your device until the scan is finished. Any questionable files detected will be reported to you, along with whether they need to be deleted or quarantined. If you believe this is beyond your scope of knowledge, you should contact IT Support.
Disconnect your device from the Internet
Once you have been phished, the hacker can get into your deceive and access the system. But to do that, your device must be connected to the Internet. So, the wisest thing you can do is to disconnect your hacked device from the Internet.
Once you disconnect your device, the hacker can no longer access your device until you are online. It gives you some time to think about the next step. So, disconnect your device by turning off the Wi-Fi or the data and get out of the Internet.
Backup your files
Quite often, phishers who hack into your device through mail can access your system pretty easily. So, when you’ve disconnected from the Internet, you should perform a thorough backup. A phishing attempt could easily lead to the destruction or deletion of data. Also, phishers can intentionally delete your important data and files.
So, you should back up your system data, data from the drive, personal files, or any other important files and folders. You can back up your data to a hard drive, a USB flash drive, or cloud storage. Ensure that the device you use to backup your data is secure.
Report it to the Cyber Bureau
Remember that when you get phished, the phisher can steal your identity. A phisher can get your mobile banking credentials and launder your money from the bank. They can steal your information and delete your important files. In short, phishers can make your life miserable.
So if you fall victim to Phishing, you should contact and report the Cyber Bureau. Cyber Bureau is a department that deals with cybercrimes. So when you report them about your phishing scam, they can take necessary action and tell you what you can do.
By reporting them about the phishing attack, you can also help catch the criminal and stop them from committing similar crimes.
In conclusion, to protect yourself from being the victim of phishing, remember to thoroughly check any mail sent to you before you click it. Before you enter your information on the website, remember to check the validity of the website. It would be best to check the domain name and the email name clearly before taking any action.
If you are phished, don’t panic, disconnect yourself from the Internet, change your password, scan your device to check for malware, inform the concerned authority and cyber bureau.
You are responsible for your safety. Always exercise caution and vigilance. Always remember that someone somewhere is trying to hack you and that the simple preventive procedures listed above can help to protect you from the vast majority of hacking efforts.