Cybercrime is a very real threat in our modern society. Cybercriminals are out there, always planning and strategizing how they are going to break into our devices and get to our personal information.
Even if you’re not aware of the dangers that you might face against cybercrime, it’s still important that you understand one of the most common and basic hacking techniques: phishing.
Phishing has been around for decades, there’s no doubt about that. However, it has become even more threatening in recent years as cybercriminals begin to use social engineering to trick their victims into falling for their traps. On top of that, phishing is common on social media, which is where many people spend most of their leisure time. Read on to make sure you understand how you can spot phishing and avoid falling victim to one of these nasty scams.
Ever since the dawn of the internet age, scammers have been trying their luck to see who can fall for their cunning tricks. While many may have been fooled by these strategies, the Nigerian Prince scam amongst others, has now fallen away and has been replaced by newer, more deceiving scams.
Originally, phishing scams were sent out through emails. A phishing scam is when you receive an email that urges you to interact with a link or attachment in the email. However, once you have interacted with one of these two elements in the email, the cybercriminal will have the upper hand.
Firstly, a link could take you to a fake website that the cybercriminal has set up. The website might ask you to enter login credentials or some personal information. However, what the victim doesn’t know is that this page will be rigged with a keylogger, which is able to copy all the information typed into the website and give it straight to the hacker.
If you click on the attachment, there is the possibility of malicious software being installed on your device. Malware (short for malicious software) is extremely dangerous, and it can range from viruses to spyware, and even ransomware in some cases. Clicking on a link in a phishing email also prompts malware to be installed on your device in some cases.
What makes phishing scams so dangerous is their ability to convince people to interact with them. This is something that cybercriminals have realized, and it’s an area that they have developed and improved significantly in recent years – we’ll discuss exactly how they do this down below. Nowadays phishing is even used on popular social media sites, making them even more difficult to spot, and phishing attacks are becoming more frequent than ever.
Phishing has come a long way since the old Nigerian Prince scam that has now turned into a running joke amongst internet users. In fact, phishing has now become so advanced that it is extremely difficult to spot, and here’s why.
Cybercriminals have started leveraging social engineering to make their phishing scams more convincing than ever before. Social engineering is when a hacker uses a company or person that their victim would know and trust, therefore making it more likely that their victim would interact with their phishing email.
As an example, a cybercriminal might choose to impersonate Netflix using their phishing scam because they know that Netflix is popular and has millions of subscribers around the world. This means that there is a greater chance that they will have victims who will interact with their scam email. The hackers will then hook the victim by telling them that something urgently needs their attention and that they need to follow a link in the email to rectify the problem. One of the most popular Netflix phishing scams these days is when the hacker tells their victim that they need to follow the link to update their billing information, or else their account will be suspended. However, when the victim clicks on the link it takes them to a fake website that has a keylogger installed on it. Once the victim has entered their billing information and submitted it, the hacker will have captured all their information and is then able to use it as they please.
These phishing scams are successful and they catch out a lot of victims because of the fact that cybercriminals are able to impersonate the company so well. They will use the same logos and color schemes in order to trick the victim into believing that it’s an email from a real company.
With a successful phishing scam, a cybercriminal could steal your login credentials, and banking information, or install dangerous malware on your device. From there they can commit identity theft, lock you out of your accounts, or even approve fraudulent transactions from your bank accounts.
Whether it’s your email inbox or your direct message inbox on social media, you must learn how to spot phishing scams before it’s too late. Phishing scams are becoming more frequent than ever before, especially since social media makes it so easy for hackers to get their messages seen by potential victims.
The first thing you want to do is keep an eye out for any spelling or grammatical errors in the body of the email or message. Cybercriminals sometimes don’t double-check their messages before sending them, and it can be a dead giveaway, especially if they are trying to impersonate a reputable company. You also must check where the email is coming from by cross-checking the sender’s email address online. Modern “phishers” will usually use a legitimate domain such as Gmail.com or Outlook. Remember, most legitimate services will never ask you to enter your personal details or credit card information.
You should also be wary of clicking on any links, even if it has been sent from someone that you know on social media. Many hackers might send out fraudulent links to someone’s contact list once they have broken into their account. So, even if the message is from your friend or a family member, you should still be cautious about clicking on it.
It’s always a good idea to set your social media profiles to private as this will prevent any strangers or people outside of your network from sending you messages. Social media is dangerous because it can tell a cybercriminal exactly what our interests and hobbies are, which makes it much easier for them to target us with specific phishing scams. For example, if you’re a fan of a particular music band, a hacker might send you a link claiming that you could win free tickets to one of their concerts