Phishing, similar to actual fishing but applied to the cyber context, is one of the biggest threats to your online privacy. They’re known to be cunning and malicious tactics that effectively deceive users into performing specific actions. These techniques have been developed and evolved over many years by cybercriminals and have reached terrifying efficacy levels in 2021.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is essentially portraying oneself as someone else to gain access to sensitive information. Threat actors manage to target susceptible individuals and masquerade their emails and websites as items from official services and companies. The victims unknowingly fall prey to the hackers’ calls-to-action. They are then guided to unsafe platforms where the users are most vulnerable.
Not only are the threat actors employing complex social engineering techniques to trick potential victims more successfully, but they are even incorporating ingenious methods and the latest technology to stay several steps ahead of the detection efforts. The whole issue seems to be growing at an alarming rate and, with the lack of awareness among everyday users being the basis for the concept of phishing, the entire prospect is immensely concerning.
Why You Should be Worried About Phishing
The ENISA Threat Landscape 2020 report pointed out that these phishing attacks are becoming increasingly widespread, targeted, complex, undetectable, and effective. Although still regarded as the most dangerous threat in cyberspace, Malware could soon be overtaken by the phishing wave.
Moreover, roughly 70% of the cybercriminals previously involved in malware attacks now shift their attention towards the phishing business, specifically sending emails. Using emails, they imitate and disguise themselves as famous, certified companies such as UPS, Amazon, Apple, Zoom, etc.
Phishing: A Business in the Making
Phishing has become so commonplace and potentially rewarding that there are even dedicated services that sell complete phishing kits. Threat actors carefully target their victims, slightly and randomly change webpages/emails from their original counterparts.
Hackers even use certified HTTP’s as their landing pages (usually some breached website) to easily fool the targets. Also, to escape detection mechanisms, they even use temporary URLs to cover their tracks.
Threat actors even use several proxies to guide targeted individuals to comprised websites (previously certified to be safe). Phishing as a service (PaaS) has become even more commonplace in such markets.
How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?
Although phishing attacks are not that easy to control, you can take several measures to mitigate the risks posed by these harmful cybercriminal activities. Below are a few suggestions:
- When entering sensitive information, make sure to enforce 2-factor authentication (2FA)
- Check the URLs. Look carefully for any mis-spellings, typos, or additional symbols.
- HTTP is not a decent factor to assess a website
- Regular training of employees about how to identify and tackle false emails
- Run phishing simulations randomly to assess the staff
- Anomaly detection in network
- Anti-Malware and Anti-Spam gateway filters