Learn to Recognize and Block Advanced Phishing Attacks

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According to Forbes, over half a billion dollars are lost to phishing scams in the United States every year. Large scale phishing attacks can lead to serious financial consequences and data or identity theft. For businesses, recovering from these types of scams can take months or even years.

Therefore it is important to stay up to date on new methods and strategies that hackers use. They can try to gain access to people’s personal data or confidential business files. Keep reading to learn what phishing scams look like, how to recognize them, and how to prevent them in the first place.

What is Phishing?

Many internet users are unaware that a concept called phishing even exists. To reduce the number of attacks and lower down the yearly statistics, we have to raise awareness about phishing. It’s a type of online scam where people impersonate businesses or authority figures to trick users into revealing sensitive information.

Hackers often target companies through employees who don’t know much about online security. The concept itself is rather simple. They send an email pretending to be someone else and try to pull out as much personal information as they can. These emails often contain links that lead to spoof pages where they prompt the user to register or make a payment. However, instead of purchasing a product, people send their information right to the scammers’ hands.

Recent Phishing Scams

One of the reasons why scammers are so successful at what they do is the fact that they change their strategies often. One of their recent phishing methods was spotted by Antoine Vincent Jebara, the co-founder and CEO of a password managing software called Myki. Hacker news wrote about Jebara’s recent discovery of a phishing scheme that was going on across multiple blogs online.

Hackers distributed malicious links across hundreds of blogs, prompting the visitors to log into their Facebook to access exclusive content. Using Facebook to log in and gain access to content is nothing strange; this method has been around for a while. But usually, when a page requests you to log into Facebook, it takes you directly to Facebook.com.

In this case, the links led to a fake login gate that captured users’ credentials. The reason why so many people fell for this trick was that the login page looked almost exactly like the real Facebook page. According to Jebara, the only way to recognize a fake login page is to “try to drag the prompt away from the window it is currently displayed in. If dragging it out fails (part of the popup disappears beyond the edge of the window), it’s a definite sign that the popup is fake.”

How to Protect Yourself from Phishing scams

One of the security assets that can protect you online is a virtual private network (VPN). These services are available at affordable prices, and they are quite simple to use. All it takes to set up a VPN is to find a reliable service provider, download their app to your device, and choose a server to connect to.

VPN users can stay completely anonymous online. A VPN hides the original location of a device and replaces it with a virtual one. Your connections are encrypted and safe from man-in-the-middle attacks. Some VPN providers have special features that block suspicious websites that are known to contain malware. Their databases are constantly updated, so if you click on a link that leads to a phishing website, the VPN will block your access.

There are other safety measures that you can implement to prevent phishing attacks:

  • Use multi-factor authentication across all social media accounts. This helps differentiate fake login prompts from legit ones.
  • If you are concerned about the safety of your company data, start an employee awareness training program.
  • Use password managers to access social media accounts. Password managers will only log into your account through the legitimate login prompts.
  • Install browser spam filters. They will notify you whenever you come across suspicious content online

Conclusion

Phishing has been around for a while so we cannot say it’s a new trend. However, people are falling for the trick over and over again, which motivates hackers to pursue new phishing strategies.

The only way to put an end to it is to teach as many people as we can about phishing attacks and their consequences. With that said, make sure to start implementing safety measures against phishing attacks right away.

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