One of the most typical ways hackers access private or sensitive data is through phishing scams. In fact, phishing is a factor in 51% of breaches that include a social engineering element, according to Barracuda 2022 Top Threats and Trends.
Phishing: What Is It?
At its most basic level, a phishing scam entails sending phony emails that seem to be from a reputable company with the intention of tricking recipients into either clicking on a malicious link or downloading an infected attachment, typically to steal money or private information.
Understanding Phishing Scams
The most typical elements of a phishing email have been separated out. To put your knowledge to the test, view the entire infographic.
Starting with the email’s subject line, phishing campaigns frequently use strong language and scare tactics to convey a sense of urgency. Phishing emails frequently claim that sensitive information, like a credit card number or an account, has been compromised. This is done to get the recipient to respond immediately without noticing the telltale signs of a scam.
Phishing attempts must persuade the recipient of the email that it is coming from a reliable source in order to succeed. As a result, the email will seem to be from a trustworthy department within a well-known company, like customer support. On closer inspection, however, you can see that the sender’s name and email address are both parodies of well-known companies, not actual sellers.
Phishing emails frequently refer to the recipient as a “user” or “customer” in an impersonal manner. This is a warning sign because legitimate businesses will address you by name when requesting an update to financial information or handling another sensitive matter, unlike businesses that may send out mass e-blasts to announce a sale or service. But know that some phishing schemes are more sophisticated and will use your name.
The body copy of a phishing email typically uses urgent language to persuade the reader to act without thinking, similar to the subject line. Grammar and punctuation errors are also common in phishing emails.
One of the key indicators of a phishing email is a suspicious link. These links are frequently formatted to look like genuine link that matches the business and message of the fake email or are frequently shortened (through bit.ly or a similar service). Rolling over the link reveals a malicious address, which diverts you away from the intended website.
Phishing emails frequently use scare tactics in addition to the urgent language in the hopes that readers will click malicious links out of fear or confusion. Such messaging frequently centres on updates that must be made right away or payments that must be made by a certain date.
Phishing scams frequently include malicious downloadable files, and frequently compressed.zip files, which can infect your computer in addition to malicious links.
What to Watch When Gauging a Malicious Landing Page?
There are several indicators that a landing page is malicious:
- Website Address: Although malicious landing pages make an effort to mimic legitimate company web addresses, mistakes like misspellings and insecure connections indicate an untrustworthy website.
- Footer and Navigation are Missing: A malicious landing page wants to steal your information. As a result, these pages are frequently basic.
- Spelling Errors: Just like the phishing email, the malicious landing page will attempt to look like a legitimate organization, but minute errors such as the company name being misspelled as one word, can alert you to the fraud.
- Information Gathering: Since phishing scams aim to trick you into providing personal or financial information, malicious landing pages almost always contain some kind of information-gathering form that slightly deviates from the company’s official landing page. Users must enter their Microsoft ID password on the malicious page.
It’s critical to carefully review all unsolicited emails because phishing attacks are becoming more prevalent, and sophisticated phishing tactics are being used.
However, the responsibility is not solely on the email recipients. In order to effectively combat phishing techniques, businesses must increase their level of vigilance by educating employees and implementing security software to better identify and stop potentially crippling attacks.
Want to learn more? Discover how Evron can help prevent and defend against spear phishing attacks, preventing the compromise or theft of your data.