By 2025, the cybercrime industry is projected to be worth over $10 trillion. This metric is particularly concerning since more people than ever before are working remotely for their organizations.
One of the most common types of cybercrime is a phishing attack, which could easily result in your personal information becoming compromised. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a handful of tips that can help you recognize the signs of one.
Let’s take a look.
Recognize the Signs of a Phishing Attack
1. Executive-Focused Phishing
This type of phishing has seen a notable rise as more and more people begin to work from home. But, traditional employees aren’t the only targets that hackers take advantage of.
This type of attack initially aims to compromise the account of a high-level executive at an organization. This could be a CEO, CFO, etc. The compromised account is then used to solicit information from employees.
Since the message employees receive is from an authentic source, they have little reason to be skeptical. Common practices utilized in this scenario include the acquisition of W-2 information, authorization of fraudulent wire transfers, and the compromise of trade secrets.
In general, email is by far the preferred method of communication that hackers use when conducting phishing attacks. But, criminals have begun to turn to other forms of media.
Vishing implements fraudulent phone calls as opposed to email, but it can be just as harmful to the victim. During a vishing attack, hackers also often spoof their caller ID to make it appear as though the victim is being contacted by a legitimate party.
It’s entirely possible for a victim to receive a phone call that has the same phone number and name as a legitimate individual or organization. The hacker then attempts to pose as this party during the conversation in order to acquire valuable information.
3. SMS-Based Phishing Attacks
In general, people typically only receive SMS texts from an organization when they are required to take a specific action.
For instance, even something as simple as a shipping update could prompt the user to visit a website in order to acquire more detailed information. SMS phishing initially grabs the victim’s attention by declaring they need to take a certain action as soon as possible.
A common scenario involves a fraudulent text declaring that the victim’s account has displayed suspicious activity and then providing a link to learn more information. When the user clicks on the link, there are few different ways the situation could play out.
The most common involves the hacker sending the user to a falsified data form. When the victim enters their credentials, this information is sent directly to the hacker. But, clicking a phishing link that you receive in a text could also trigger the download of malicious software on your device.
These apps could then be used to compromise additional data from the victim.
4. Cache Poisoning
For those unfamiliar with this term, it refers to a hacker’s capability to modify the way that users are directed toward legitimate websites.
By maliciously manipulating the domain naming system (DNS) that the Internet uses to display website names, hackers can redirect their victims to fraudulent websites. And, this can occur even if the victim enters the correct domain name.
It’s not always possible to tell when a specific website has been compromised, which is what makes cache poisoning attacks such a dangerous form of phishing. But, developers are constantly creating new ways to protect users from this type of malicious activity.
In some cases, your business could be held liable for a data breach. For this reason, it’s imperative that you are properly insured so that you can overcome this obstacle if it arises.
5. Traditional Email Phishing
As previously mentioned, the most basic type of phishing attack occurs through email. More often than not, this fraudulent email will appear to be from a legitimate source and will ask the user to take a specific action (much like SMS-based phishing attacks).
A common example could involve a spoofed financial institution emailing a user and declaring that changes have been made to their account. The message may then present the link and tell the user they can follow that link in order to find out more.
From here, the user may be directed to a fraudulent web form or a malicious download.
This type of phishing is named for its highly precise targeting.
Conventional methods of phishing are more or less generic emails or texts sent on a massive scale. Spear-phishing, however, uses much more detailed information in order to solicit a particular action from the victim.
During a spear-phishing attack, the victim may receive a message that has details about their name, work phone number, company, etc. More often than not, this immediately gains their attention, as people are more likely to believe a source that has their personal information.
Despite the difference in implementation from other methods, the end goal is the same. It aims to have the victim willingly provide sensitive data about themselves or their organization.
Unlike other forms of phishing, spear-phishing could even occur on social media. So, you should handle a suspicious message on social media exactly how you would a suspicious email. This involves reporting the sender and immediately deleting the message, being careful not to click on a link or attachment.
A Single Phishing Attack Could Potentially Be Catastrophic
The above information, though, will help ensure that you recognize a phishing attack and keep your sensitive data safe. From here, you will be able to drastically improve your security online and prevent complications in the future.
Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to reach out to us today and see how we can help.