What is Phishing Attack?
Phishing attacks use fraudulent emails, text messages, phone calls, or websites to trick people into downloading malware, sharing sensitive information (e.g., Pan number and credit card numbers, bank account numbers, login credentials), or taking other actions that expose themselves or their organisations to cybercrime.
Identity theft, credit card fraud, ransomware attacks, data breaches, and massive financial losses are all expected outcomes of successful phishing attacks.
The most common type of social engineering is phishing, which is the practise of deceiving, pressuring, or manipulating people into sending information or assets to the wrong people. For success, social engineering attacks rely on human error and pressure tactics.
The phishing attacker usually poses as someone or something the victim trusts, such as a coworker, a boss, or a company with which the victim or the victim’s employer does business, and creates a sense of urgency that drives the victim to act rashly.
Phishing attackers employ these methods because it is easier and less expensive to deceive people than hack into a computer or network.
Modus Operandi Of Phishing Attacks
The scammer initiates a phishing attack by sending a communication in the persona of someone trusted or familiar. The sender requests that the recipient take action, frequently implying an urgent need.
Victims who fall for the con may reveal sensitive information that could cost them their lives. More information on how phishing attacks work can be found here:
- In a phishing attack, the sender impersonates (or “spoofs”) someone trustworthy that the recipient is likely to know. Depending on the type of phishing attack, it could be a person, such as a recipient’s family member, the CEO of the company they work for, or even someone famous allegedly giving something away. Phishing emails frequently imitate emails from large corporations such as PayPal, Amazon, or Microsoft, as well as banks or government offices.
- The attacker will pose as someone trusted and ask the recipient to click a link, download an attachment, or send money. When the victim opens the message, they find a frightening message designed to overwhelm their better judgement by instilling fear in them. The message may instruct the victim to visit a website and take immediate action or face repercussions.
- Users who fall for the bait and click the link are taken to a spoof of a legitimate website. They are then prompted to log in using their username and password. If they are duped enough to comply, the attacker receives the sign-on information and uses it to steal identities, steal bank accounts, and sell personal information on the black market.
Types of Phishing Attacks
Despite their many variations, all phishing attacks have one thing in common: they use a fake identity to obtain valuables. Below are six types of Phishing attacks:
1. Email Phishing
One of the most common types of phishing is email phishing. It’s been around since the early days of e-mail.
The attacker sends an email posing as trustworthy and familiar (online retailer, bank, social media company, etc.) and requests that you click a link to perform a critical action or download an attachment.
Phone-based phishing attempts, also known as voice phishing or “vishing,” involve the phisher calling and claiming to be from your local bank or the police.
Then they scare you with some problem and demand that you fix it immediately by sharing your account information or paying a fine. They usually request payment via wire transfer or prepaid card, making them impossible to track.
3. Smishing (SMS or text message phishing)
SMS phishing, also known as “smishing,” is vishing’s evil twin, using SMS texting to carry out the same type of scam (sometimes with an embedded malicious link to click).
Is this catfishing or catfishing? In any case, it’s phishing with a romantic angle. See our article Bad Romance: catfishing explained for more information. According to the report:
Catfishing (spelt with an “f”) is an online deception in which a person creates a presence in social networks as a sock puppet or a fictional online persona to entice someone into a romantic relationship in exchange for money, gifts, or attention.
Catfishing is similar but establishing rapport and (as a result) gaining access to information and/or resources to which the unknowing target is entitled.
5. Spear Phishing
Unlike most phishing attacks, spear phishing is directed at a specific group of people.
Spear phishing targets a specific person or organisation, often with content tailored to the victim or victim. Pre-attack reconnaissance is required to discover names, job titles, email addresses, and the like.
The hackers scour the Internet for similar information about the target’s colleagues and the names and professional relationships of key employees in their organisations. The phishing attacker uses this to create a convincing email.
A fraudster, for example, could spear phish an employee whose responsibilities include the ability to authorise payments. The email appears to be from an executive in the organisation, instructing the employee to send a large amount to either the executive or a company vendor.
“One of the Internet’s earliest and longest-running scams is a verbose phishing email from someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince.”
A whaling scam, also known as whaling phishing or a whaling phishing scam, is a type of phishing scam that targets high-profile employees, such as the CEO or CFO, to steal sensitive information from a company.
The scammer’s goal in many whaling phishing scams is to trick the victim into authorising high-value wire transfers to the scammer. The term “whaling” refers to the size of the scam, and the whales are thought to be chosen based on their position within the company.
Phishing Attack scams are often more challenging to detect and prevent than standard phishing scams due to their highly focused nature.
Security administrators in large enterprises can help reduce the effectiveness of Phishing Attack scams by encouraging corporate management staff to receive information security awareness training.
How to Spot a Phishing Attack?
Recognizing a phishing attempt isn’t always easy, but a few pointers, discipline, and common sense can help. Look for anything out of the ordinary.
Trust your instincts, but don’t let fear consume you. Anxiety is frequently used in phishing attacks to cloud your judgement. Here are some more indicators of a phishing attempt:
- The email contains an offer that appears too good to be true. It could say you won the lottery, an expensive prize, or other extravagant items.
- You recognise the sender, but it’s not someone you know. Even if you remember the sender’s name, be wary if it’s from someone you don’t normally communicate with, especially if the email’s content has nothing to do with your regular job responsibilities. The same is true if you’re CC on an email to people you’ve never met or a group of colleagues from unrelated business units.
- The message appears to be frightening. Be cautious if the email contains charged or alarmist language designed to create a sense of urgency, urging you to click and “act now” before your account is terminated. Remember that responsible organisations do not request personal information via the Internet.
- The message includes attachments that are unexpected or unusual. These attachments could be infected with malware, ransomware, or another online threat.
- The message contains links that appear to be broken. Even if none of the above tickles your interest, don’t take any embedded hyperlinks at face value. Hover your cursor over the link to see the full URL. Look out for subtle misspellings in otherwise familiar-looking websites, which indicates impersonation. Typing in the URL directly rather than clicking on the embedded link is always preferable.
Tips to Protect Against a Phishing Attack
- Open e-mails from unknown senders with caution.
- Never click on a link inside an e-mail unless you know exactly where it will take you.
- To add another layer of security, if you receive an e-mail from an unknown source, manually navigate to the provided link by entering the legitimate website address into your browser.
- Look for a website’s digital certificate.
- If you are asked to provide sensitive information, ensure the URL begins with “HTTPS” rather than “HTTP.” The “S” represents “secure.” Although HTTPS does not guarantee a site is legitimate, most legitimate sites use it because it is more secure. HTTP sites, even those that are legitimate, are vulnerable to hackers.
- If you suspect an e-mail is fraudulent, enter a name or some text from the message into a search engine to see if any known phishing attacks using the same methods exist.
Where and How To Report a Phishing Attack?
Phishing attacks can be reported to government agencies and organisations that prevent and investigate various other scams. A few contacts are provided below.
|Place||Contact||Address and Email||Website|
|ACP, Cyber Crime Cell, Commissioner office Campus Egmore, Chennai- 600008|
E-mail id: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Rest of Tamil Nadu,
Address: Cyber Crime Cell, CB, CID, Chennai
E-mail id: email@example.com
|Cyber Crime Police Station, C.O.D Headquarters, Carlton House, No. 1, Palace Road, Bangalore-1|
+91-040-2329 7474 (Fax)
|Cyber Crime Police Station, Crime Investigation Department, 3rd Floor, D.G.P. office, Lakdikapool, Hyderabad–4|
|CBI Cyber Crime Cell:, Superintendent of Police, Cyber Crime Investigation Cell, Central Bureau of Investigation,|
5th Floor, Block No.3, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110003
|Sri Balmiki Marg, Inside Hazratganj Police Station, DM Compound Colony, Hazratganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001|
Email ID: NA
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