Phishing scams are sneaky and often difficult to detect. These types of cyber attacks involve cybercriminals sending emails, texts, or websites that appear to be from a trusted source but are not. The goal of this type of social engineering tactic is to trick unsuspecting users into giving up sensitive information.

In fact, phishing is one of the most common and successful hacker attacks. One of the contributing factors is that 97% of people are unable to recognize this type of scam. 

In this blog post, we will look at different types of phishing and how you can avoid being a victim of this kind of cybercrime.

Email Phishing

The most common form of phishing is email phishing, which has been around since the 1990s. In fact, a phishing assault occurs in one out of every 99 emails, according to an examination of more than 55 million emails. These scam emails are sent by hackers to any address they can find. Typically, the email service provider warns you about potential phishing scams and requests that you respond quickly.

In some cases, an email may ask you to click on a link and verify your account. Legitimate companies will never ask you to provide sensitive information via email. If you get a message that seems suspicious, don’t open the email or click on any links. Instead, contact the company through a different channel, such as their customer service number or website.

If you want some extra protection, try using a program that can help you detect phishing emails. Some email security solutions are designed to protect you against phishing attacks. These tools can scan your emails for suspicious links, domain names, and other indicators that the email might be a phishing scam. It’s a great way to prevent cybercriminals from getting what they want.

Search Engine Phishing

In search engine phishing, commonly referred to as SEO poisoning or SEO Trojans (and lately ransomware), hackers attempt to rank highly in a search engine. Your visit to the hacker’s website is facilitated by clicking on the link that is presented within the search engine.

In this type of situation, you need to trust your cyber instincts. Always pay attention if the website URL is incorrect or sounds suspicious. If you have any doubts, don’t visit it.

Another solution here would be to block suspicious domains with an extension.

Anti-phishing extensions are beneficial as they can warn you if you’re visiting a suspicious website. 

Some of the well-known anti-phishing services that are available to protect your privacy from online phishing attempts include extensions like Netcraft and Cryptonite.

Gootloader exploits websites via SEO to spread ransomware, trojans
A hacked website used in delivered Gootloader malware through Google

Vishing 

Vishing, often known as voice phishing, is the use of telephones to carry out phishing attacks. A vishing phone call aims to trick you (it recently tricked one of Cisco employees) into disclosing financial and personal information, including account numbers and passwords.

The fraudster may assert that your account has been compromised, represent your bank or law enforcement, or offer to assist you in installing software. 

The best way to protect yourself from vishing is through knowledge, as even password managers can’t help to avoid human mistakes. Hang up if a person or a recording calls you and asks for personal information. Call the company directly to confirm the request if the call appears to be from a reliable source.

Scammers using voicemail email phishing attacks to steal data

Smishing

Smishing is a type of phishing attack where SMS is used. Due to the fact that people are more inclined to believe a message received through a messaging app on their phone than one sent via email, it is really popular.

new-smishing-scam-spreads-fake-tiktok-app-loaded-with-malware
Smishing attack via WhatsApp

Your name and location could be used by the smishing criminal to address you specifically. The message may sound more authentic because of that. Usually, a smishing message will contain a link to the website. The link could take you to a site that steals login credentials or malware that can infect your phone directly.

The malware can then be used to discreetly communicate private information to a server under the attacker’s control or to spy on your smartphone activity. To avoid that, you should keep in mind a few things to better defend yourself from these threats. Firstly:

  • Don’t respond.
  • Call your bank or merchant if doubtful.
  • Avoid opening links sent via text message. 
  • Make sure to check the number of the message, as unknown numbers are usually fake.

Conclusion

Information is power, and knowledge is the key to preventing yourself from becoming a victim of phishing attacks. The more you know about these cyber-based threats, like phishing, vishing, and smishing, and how they affect your online life, the less likely you are to fall victim to one. 

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