Email Phishing

Email Phishing – What Is It and How to Stay Safe?



Over the past 20 years, the Internet has become an integral part of our lives. We are used to applying electronic payment services, paying bills through Internet banking, conducting business, and text messaging.

Anyway, if we do not follow the basic rules of electronic safety, our data can become the prey of fraudsters.

Students are among people who are addicted to gadgets the most. Moreover, they often become victims of cyber attacks and other online threats.

Whether you search for college homework help online or download a new version of your favorite game, you must be careful. There are various sources of potential threats to the safety of your computer.

Phishing is a kind of online fraud aimed at obtaining user identification data. These may be logins and passwords for bank cards, accounts, social media pages.

Given the gullibility or inattention of some people, the performance of this scheme becomes available not only to experienced hackers. It forces users to disclose personal information about themselves for further usage for malicious purposes.

     Related Resource: The 5 Best Email Marketing Strategies to Try in 2020

What Is the Target of Fraudsters?

What Is the Target of Fraudsters

You may be wondering: who would ever want to obtain my data? Am I interesting to anybody? Of course, no one tries to find out when you were born.

Personal information is not only about things you openly post on your social media pages. It is about much more valuable data than money or other material things.

Fraudsters need everything that can be useful for illegal earnings. These are:

●     Card and account data, bank account logins, and passwords that allow transferring money to other accounts.

●     Access to a database of contacts, allowing them to send messages to your friends and steal their data, too.

●     Access to online store accounts to which you may be logged in via mail and social networks. Card data is often already saved there to accelerate the process of payment.

●     Access to personal user data that can be used for blackmailing.

       Related Resource: 6 Ways to Build Email List from Scratch

Examples of Email Phishing Schemes

Examples of Email Phishing Schemes

To combat online hackers, one must understand what is hidden behind their actions. What schemes do they use to get you on the hook?

  1. Sending fake emails with a request to confirm your login and password.
  2. Creating emails using the shortcomings of the SMTP mail protocol. When a user responds to such phishing messages, a reply letter is automatically sent to fraudsters.
  3. Conducting fake online auctions.
  4. Creating fictitious charitable organizations that ask for donations via email.
  5. Founding of fake online shops. Selling goods at low prices or big discounts. This trick attracts customers and urges them to provide their bank card details without suspecting they are victims of an attack.

Protection from Phishing

Experts primarily recommend service users learn how to recognize phishing on their own. There are four elements you must pay attention to before clicking on a link. These are the following:

1. Sender

Is the sender known to you? If not, consider the email with increased suspicion and do not open any attachments. Phishing emails are often crafted to look like your friend or employer sent them. Still, such letters always slightly differ in the sender’s address. Try to notice and compare it with the reliable one.

2. The Subject of the Message

Pay special attention to the title of the message! Many users have already learned the subject “Take your prize right now,” which is a usual sign of a phishing attack.

Nowadays, the most effective phishing subjects are the ones that do not arouse much suspicion. They can ask you to confirm the password and login of your profile or bank account details. Thus, check every source before providing your details.

3. Content

The content of the email may also contain a whole range of phishing signs, including misspelled words or context inconsistencies.

For example, you are asked to confirm the correct login to online banking, in which you do not even have an account? Or you receive an email from a familiar contact but with a short link only. Make sure you never open it!

If you happen to click on it, conduct the following analysis before doing any operations on the website. If you are asked to enter personal information or card details, purchase through the site, have a look at HTTPS.

In front of its address must be a closed padlock icon. It means that the connection is secure. When you enter data on the site, it is automatically encrypted and thus cannot be intercepted.

4. Attachments

The golden rule says – do not open attachments if something in the letter seems suspicious to you. Attachments may contain malware infecting the overall system of your computer.

Useful Tips

Of course, most experienced users are aware of the steps necessary to protect their gadgets. But how many people follow such instructions? Perhaps few. Make sure you are among those who stick to the rules. Below you will find a checklist.

1. Activate two-factor authentication

In addition to a password, two-factor authentication usually requires additional actions. For example, entering the code, confirming signing-in on another device, or confirming entry through biometric data – fingerprint or face scan.

2. Update your software regularly

Update your software regularly

Attackers often rely on software vulnerabilities. To avoid problems, install updates that fix these shortcomings.

3. Install a good antivirus program

Apart from protection against phishing attacks, it has many valuable features of personal data protection. For example, antivirus prevents fraudsters from intercepting messages with codes and closes access to programs that steal data from online banks.

4. Activate mail filters

Phishing fraudsters often conduct mass mailings, so a good mail filter will always mark them as spam. Moreover, hackers often hide malicious code in the active content of a PDF file.

Thus, you can configure your email client or antivirus so that the service scans such suspicious attachments.

Final Words

Phishing threatens not only organizations and managers of large firms but also individuals. Nowadays, everyone is exposed to online threats. Knowing your enemy and learning how to avoid phishing is crucial to maintaining online safety.

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Arnab Das is a passionate blogger who loves to write on different niches like technologies, dating, finance, fashion, travel, and much more.

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