Cybercrime is always evolving. Many hackers are working tirelessly behind the scenes to find new ways to commit their crimes. This is bad news for the rest of the world who are at risk of becoming victims of cybercrimes.
One of the most common techniques that criminals use to target innocent victims is phishing scams. Phishing scams are nothing new, however, they have become more difficult to avoid in recent years. Modern phishing scams are more sophisticated and affect more platforms.
Cybercriminals are constantly updating their techniques and perfecting their methods of attacking potential victims. This makes it incredibly difficult to stay one step ahead of them and keep your devices safe. Read on to find out about the latest trends in cybercrime and how you can avoid becoming a victim of them.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a widespread type of online fraud. While it has been around for many years, phishing scams have developed and grown both in their popularity and in how they are presented to potential victims.
Phishing scams involve sending out fake emails or malicious links to potential victims. The classic Nigerian Prince scam is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a phishing scam.
These fake emails will normally require you to interact with them in one way or another. It can include opening attachments on the email or even clicking on a link that takes you to a website.
As soon as you interact with anything on the fake email malicious software, also known as malware, can be installed on your device. Malware is extremely dangerous and can range from viruses to spyware and ransomware.
Phishing emails could also ask you to follow a link to update something on a website, for example, your banking details. However, the link will lead you to a fake website that has a keylogger installed. A keylogger will track everything you type on the website, which means that the cybercriminal will have access to all the information you gave on the website.
You may wonder how hackers can find your email address to send you fake emails. Frequently, businesses or websites will sell your personal information to other businesses, some of which may be run by cybercriminals. Other times they can get hold of your email address if you have put it online somewhere such as your social media profiles or if you have created an account with sketchy websites.
Why is Phishing Dangerous?
There are several dangers involved with phishing scams. The first is the possibility of dangerous software being installed on your devices. This can cause you headaches, especially if dangerous malware such as ransomware has been installed on your device.
Phishing schemes can also be used to obtain sensitive information from you. They can be adjusted to get anything from your banking details to your login credentials for several different websites.
How has Phishing Developed?
Phishing scams have come a long way since the unconvincing Nigerian Prince scam. In our modern society technology has developed significantly over the years. As the world becomes more connected and more businesses move towards online operations more opportunities emerge for hackers to trick people into falling for their phishing scams.
Cybercriminals make use of social engineering to create a false sense of trust in their fake emails. They do this by creating their emails to look like they are being sent from well-known and trusted companies. Websites are also created to replicate those of reputable companies to lure in victims.
One example of the latest phishing trends is where hackers use Netflix to scam victims. The scam involves the victims receiving an email from Netflix stating that their account will be suspended unless they update their billing details. The email also contains a link that takes you directly to the Netflix billing page.
The email is fake, however, it replicates the Netflix emails perfectly by using the logo and the color scheme. This makes the victims believe that the email is real and that has been sent to them by Netflix.
Once the victim follows the link they are taken to a fake website that also replicates the Netflix website. The website is rigged with a keylogger which allows the hacker to get hold of all the information that is being typed into the website.
How Can You Prevent Becoming a Victim?
The best way to prevent becoming a victim of phishing scams is to understand how they work and how you can spot them. If you can spot a phishing scam you will be able to protect yourself from a vast range of cybercrimes.
The best way to spot a phishing scam is to pay close attention to the email in question. The first thing you need to check is the email address it was sent from. In the majority of cases, you will see a discrepancy between the real company’s email address and the fake one. If you take Netflix for example you might find that a fake email address will have small differences to make it look the same. Fake emails can look something like this: ‘Netfl1x’ or ‘N3tflix’. If you don’t often check the sender’s address this can catch you out. If you have doubts about whether it is a real email address you can always double-check it with other emails you have received from the company, or by simply typing the email address into Google.
Another giveaway that an email is a phishing scam is that they will use a general greeting in their email as opposed to using your name. For example, they would use ‘Dear Customer’. You can also scan through the email and look for any spelling or grammatical errors. Phishing emails often urge the victim to act quickly on something or ask for the help of some sort.
We can sometimes get caught out even if we’re paying attention to the details. Another way to protect yourself is by installing anti-virus software on your device. If you have premium antivirus software installed on your device, it will function as a safety net in the event that malware is installed. You can also adjust your email settings to filter spam emails more effectively.
Antivirus software will constantly scan your device for any malicious software. If any malicious software has been found on your device, it can take action to remove it and keep your device secure.