Don’t Know How Phishing Scams Work? Here’s Lesson 101
Hackers are going phishing, and it doesn’t involve an afternoon at the local pond. Here's your introduction to these shady scams.
Not to be confused with your father’s favorite pastime activity, the act of phishing is when a hacker pretends to be someone else in order to obtain sensitive personal information.
One of the best solutions for avoiding these scams is vigilance, but software providers do offer solutions to help guard against an attack. For Android users, dfndr security’s Anti-Hacking and advanced Anti-Phishing protection can alert you to possible scams received over SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or your web browser before even clicking on their traps.
Some of the most common examples of scams include hackers attempting to procure usernames, passwords, credit card details, or bank information. In recent years, the number of phishing scams has skyrocketed, making it more critical than ever to be aware of how these scams operate.
Here are 2 of the most common tricks to avoid with phishing scams:
Manipulative Web Links
A typical phishing trick is to send users a link that seems as if it might be heading to one website, but instead, it directs you to a malicious alternative; this can be accomplished by showing you the text of a trustworthy site, while the link itself sends you to a more malevolent option. For example, the link you click on may say ‘google.com,’ but thanks to tricky web coding, the results may direct you to a different site designed to harvest your information.
This trick can easily be identified by holding down on the link with your finger to see what web link it truly directs itself towards. Depending on the smartphone and mobile browser you are using, the true link will typically be displayed in a pop-up dialog.
Remember to eye the web link carefully before you click on it. Using slight typos in a web link is an efficient way to make you think you are secure when you are really at risk – heading to y0urbank.com’ instead of ‘yourbank.com.’ Other keywords may even be added to the web address to create a plausible-sounding, but unofficial, link such as ‘yourbanklogin.com.’
The easiest way to obtain your personal information? Just have the scammer ask for it. Whether through an email, text message, or traditional phone call, scammers are more confident than ever in asking for your information. A hacker will merely pretend to be your banker, a government official, or an IT support representative. In many situations, phishing attacks rely on the fact that humans will typically obey a perceived figure of authority.
The Moral of Lesson 101
Do not trust anyone who asks you for a password or other personal information. Just delete the email, ignore the text-message or hang-up the phone call without giving any personal details. Then contact the institution or company that person claimed to represent by visiting their official website to verify the phishing attempt.
Phishing scams can be dangerous to our personal security and be confusing to identify, but rather than feel powerless at this sentiment there are options to keep your personal information safe. Use antivirus software on all your devices and follow best security practices to help you avoid becoming caught in a phishing scam net.