What is Phishing? How to Identify and Avoid Phishing Scams?

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Phishing is characterized as utilizing or exploiting the website pages, text messages, social media direct messages, and emails in a social designing attack that tricks the client into thinking they are in a real and secure web meeting with a trusted webpage or person. Regularly phishing emails will contain connections to these phishing sites, which appear genuine.

The phishing site is intended to install malicious software or obtain individual data, including credit card numbers and passwords. The phisher then utilizes this data for identity theft and other fake activities.

Types of Phishing Attacks

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Phishing can be a targeted attack focused on a particular person. The attacker will frequently tailor an email to talk directly to you and incorporates data only a colleague would know. An attacker will generally get this data after getting access to your information. If the email is this sort, it is challenging for even the most cautious recipients not to turn into a victim. Here are some of the types of Phishing attacks and scams:

Email Phishing

Email phishing shows up in your email inbox. It is generally requested to follow a connection, send a payment, answer private data, or open a connection. The sender’s email may be customized to look like a valid one intently and may contain data that feels individual to you.

Spear phishing

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Unlike Phishing which will focus on more audiences, spear-phishing will focus on a specific kind of target. Spear phishing targets individuals with access to important corporate data. For instance, such email scams could seem to come from one of your work companions or bosses who need access to specific information.

HTTPS phishing

HTTPS phishing provides a malicious site with the illusion of safety with the classic padlock next to the URL bar pointer. While this encryption sign used to be exclusive to websites that were checked as protected, presently, any site can get this. So, your association and information you send might be blocked to others, yet you’re associated with a criminal.

Whaling

Sometimes phishers will go after the greatest target, the whales. Whaling attacks target CEOs, head working officials, or other high-positioning chiefs in an organization. The objective is to trick these influential people into giving up the most delicate corporate information. These attacks are more refined than general phishing attacks and require a lot of examination from scammers.

Smishing

Utilizing Short Message services or text messages to phish is called smishing. In smishing, pay special attention to incorrect spellings or errors. Unprofessional-sounding messages are generally a warning as well.

Angler Phishing

As malicious entertainers move between attack vectors, web-based media has become another famous area for phishing attacks. Like both vishing and smishing, angler phishing is when a cybercriminal utilizes warnings or direct messaging highlights in a social media application to entice someone to make a move.

How To Recognize Phishing Scams

Scammers regularly update their strategies, yet a few signs will help you identify phishing email scams. They might appear like they are from a trusted source. Here are some of the most common warning signs of a phishing attempt.

  • Asks for personal or confidential information
  • Suspicious attachments
  • Too good to be true offers: ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’

How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks

No doubt, email spam filters will keep phishing emails out of your inbox. But scammers are smart enough to trick you, so it’s always good to protect yourself in all possible ways that you can.

Below are some steps that you can take to protect yourself from any form of Phishing:

1. Follow Best Practices to Enhance Windows Security

First and foremost, you need to improve the security of your Windows system. Thankfully, it’s not that difficult. Make sure you follow some of the best practices to make your PC more secure.

2. Protect your computer and mobile devices by utilizing security software with anti-phishing features:

Some of the best antivirus programs with anti-phishing and anti-spam capabilities include Bitdefender, Avast, McAfee, and Kaspersky, to name a few. You can use any of the programs that are you are comfortable with.

To protect my devices, I have been using Bitdefender Total Security. It is one of the best programs that protect against Phishing and all forms of malware. Also, Bitdefender’s Android app has a Scam Alert feature that scans messages and Android notifications. Hence you are warned if the link in the message or notification is harmful before you even click it.

In addition, Bitdefender is the only product that received the VBSpam+ award in each of the four VBSpam tests conducted by the Virus Bulletin in 2021. With good malware and phishing catch rates of more than 99%, it is one of the most trusted programs that you can have right now. You can directly buy Bitdefender Total Security from the official site or from stores that provide budget-friendly prices on subscriptions.

3. Use a Secure Web browser to protect your data and privacy

A secure browser is important to browse the Web safely and make safer online transactions. Using a VPN is also recommended, along with a secure browser, to protect your privacy.

Some antivirus providers come with their own secure web browsers, for ex: Bitdefender Safepay. Safepay keeps your online transactions private and secure and comes with a built-in VPN.

Conclusion

To avoid getting scammed, investing in good cybersecurity software is recommended. Ensure the software has all the essential features that you need to protect you from all types of phishing scams.

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