What Do Phishing Attacks Really Look Like?

Every year, phishing attacks cause significant losses in the business sector. As a result, it is one of the most common cybersecurity problems. This article will consider common phishing methods and how to deal with them. 

The essence of the phishing 

Today, every data breach and every online attack seems to involve phishing attempts to steal passwords, start fraudulent transactions, or trick someone into downloading malicious software. Phishing is the most widespread type of Internet crime in the world while remaining the cheapest method of attack. Over the past year, the number of phishing attacks worldwide has increased by 350%.

Phishing is a type of social engineering when data is stolen not through hacking but by deceiving a user who voluntarily sends data to attackers. For example, it happens when sending phishers under the guise of well-known organizations and forging links to the websites of these organizations. The purpose of phishing is to steal the user’s personal data and logins with passwords, which the attacker can then use to obtain other data from the account, send malicious messages from the victim’s address or steal funds from the user’s accounts.

Phishing harms users of sites that fall for the bait and the owners of sites that attackers copy to get user data. For users, a phishing attack is usually material damage; for site owners, it is reputational damage. Phishing sites look like the original ones and differ only in some letters in the address. Phishers often fake financial websites, cloud storage, and online services.

The attacker’s algorithm looks like this:

    • contact entry;
    • sending a message with a link to go;
    • waiting for an unsuspecting user’s username and password to be entered.

Common types of phishing

Not to become a victim, you need to know in what ways a scammer can try to attack you. Here are several common types of phishing attempts you may encounter:

      • Electronic phishing

It is a typical phishing scam mimicking a legitimate company email message. Because this type of phishing does not target a specific person, generic emails are often sent to millions of users in the hope that some unsuspecting victims will click on a link, download a file, or follow the instructions in the email.

      • Spear phishing

This type of phishing is more complex and advanced and targets a specific group or individual. Notorious hackers often use it to infiltrate organizations. The scammer extensively researches people, their backgrounds, or the people they usually associate with to create a more personal message. And since users are often unaware that something is wrong, use more personal messages.

      • Domain change

It is usually carried out through email or fraudulent sites. The attack consists of substitution by a hacker of the address of a company or organization in such a way that the emails looked like they were sent from an official company address.

How to protect yourself from phishing?

Methods of protection against most attacks are quite simple and entirely in the hands of the user. To do this, follow the following rules:

    • Check the URL when following a link;
    • Use a password manager and a unique password for each site;
    • Use bookmarks in the browser and enter the address manually;
    • Try to use only encrypted HTTPS connections;
    • Additionally, check all emails with attachments and links;
    • Use alternative communication channels to confirm that a message has been sent to friends, colleagues, or relatives if it contains an atypical attachment;
    • Update your system files, browsers, and antivirus software regularly.