There is Plenty of ‘Phish’ in the Sea

Phishing is a technique where internet fraudsters mask themselves as trusted businesses and trick people into giving personal information such as account numbers and passwords and divulge credit card details.

Phishing has been existing for a long time dating back to the age before the internet, where they used the telephone and scammed people. They use attractive and alluring messages as bait and trap people by making them provide valuable information. Several attackers exist in the market, some of these attackers thrive on familiarity. They know basic details about you like your name, e-mail address and a few other minor details and send E-mails to you. As the mail seems to be from someone familiar people are tempted to respond and end up providing valuable information. This form of phishing is commonly called spear phishing and it is a targeted form of phishing.

Messages like “Congratulations! you have won a $1000 reward in our luck draw, Please click to claim the prize”, “We found an unauthorised transaction on your account, Please click the link below to confirm your identity”, ”Please verify your account as a process of system upgradation, Click on the link and provide your details” etc are some of the common messages used to phish out information like credit card details and account passwords.

Don’t reply to these messages and don’t click on the links provided as they generally redirect you to spoof sites that look very realistic but are used to steal information. Do not provide personal or financial information using e-mails as it is highly insecure. Be cautious while opening attachments from people you don’t know as they might contain malware or viruses.

Some of the phishing mails look extremely similar to ones sent by vendors. However, common transactions do not have attachments. We must always be vigilant and avoid opening these attachments. Delete e-mails that ask you to provide personal information. Review credit card and bank statements regularly. There is no solution to this problem apart from being aware and vigilant. You need to complete ‘Unagi’ to overcome phishing. Masquerading high-level executive mails and sending them to top executives of the company to obtain valuable information is called whaling. Some attackers provide free wifi points and run attacks on users who connect to them and obtain valuable data, this is termed as Rouge WiFi.

Attackers use a high level of deception. Anti-phishing software and strategies have to be used to prevent phishing. Phishing has caused substantial financial losses. Spam filters can reduce the number of phishing mails from reaching inboxes. We must be skeptical and contact the company being impersonated if we receive such fraudulent mails.

Phishing mails are generally very generic, they use words such as Dear customer or Dear Sir/Madam whereas legitimate mails will address you personally. Make sure the URL begins with “https://“ when you enter information in a web session and also verify the security certificate.

Prevention is better than cure. Be aware and be suspicious to prevent phishing. We, at Appknox are dedicated to educating consumers about these scams. Keep reading our blog to know more and also to stay safe.

Published on Jun 30, 2015
Written by Kavitha Ramamurthy


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