Phishing Attacks: Why They’re So Successful and How to Protect Yourself

 Phishing Attacks: Why They’re So Successful and How to Protect Yourself

Currently, phishing attack is one of the main threats that users face on the internet. In this type of scam, the criminal tries to “hook” victims to steal some of their data, such as full name, identification documents, bank accounts, passwords and others.

What differentiates this type of attack from others practiced is that phishing misleads the user so that he voluntarily takes an action or provides his information.

In general, the tactic used by criminals is the same: creating messages very similar to the original ones to deceive victims and, thus, manage to steal their personal data.

We already have a post on our blog explaining what phishing is . Therefore, today’s text will be dedicated to showing how this type of attack is so successful and how to best protect yourself to prevent you and your company from suffering from this threat.

The types of phishing

To understand why phishing works, we first need to know the two ways criminals attack:

Blind Phishing:

They are emails and messages sent in bulk, that is, they do not have a specific target. This type of attack is cheaper and faster for criminals, but they are also more easily identified.

Spear-Phishing

In this version, the victim is known and studied by the criminal. As such, content is often much more convincing with a sender that you or your business keep in touch with.

In organizations, the employees most likely to suffer from spearphishing are those who have access to strategic information. Leaking this data often has financial and even image consequences for the business.

Why is the phishing attack so successful?

Even in blind phishing cases , this type of attack is usually quite successful. That’s because criminals are improving their scams, cloning banking sites, streaming platforms, stores, etc. In addition, the contents are also much more elaborate to mislead the user.

Messages can be sent via email, apps or social networks. Usually, in order to deceive the victim, criminals use senders that the victim already knows, such as contacts and companies that the user uses.

The malware used in the attacks is also more sophisticated. These viruses access the machine with the aim of incorporating new concealment techniques to protect data extraction and make it difficult for the police to investigate.

How to protect yourself from phishing attacks?

Even with such success, there are some steps you can take to protect your business from this type of threat. Check out the top 5 tips:

1. Pay extra attention to message senders

We often see the name of the person who sent the content, but we don’t check their email address. It is in this “fragility” that criminals take advantage of to successfully carry out their attacks.

It is common for them to impersonate a bank or company with a common domain, such as gmail or hotmail. They may also use some address similar to the original, such as companyname.net.

So pay close attention to the sender address before clicking on any link. If you suspect any content, check the email domain and contact the company or person who “sent” the message to verify that it is genuine.

2. Do not provide your or customer data

Phishing attacks usually come with a request, such as clicking on a link, updating an account, or submitting personal information to complete the order.

Companies do not usually ask their customers for data via email. Therefore, if you receive this type of message, do not provide your information, your company or your customers.

Whenever you have the slightest doubt regarding the content, look for the “sender” to verify the veracity of the request and to know if there is really a need to send any data.

3. Check the signature and contact details at the end of the message

People and companies often have contact information in their email signature. When the message does not have any form of contact it can be a good indication of phishing.

4. Take extra care with attachments and images

Be careful with emails that have attachments and images, especially if the sender is unknown or suspicious. When in doubt, do not click or download anything. Even in cases where the contact appears to be someone you know, only open the files after an antivirus scan.

5. Doubt messages with a sense of urgency

Phishing attacks are often quite successful because they play on the emotional part of victims. Prizes in sweepstakes, unbelievable offers and matters that demand maximum urgency, such as non-payment, are often the baits used by criminals.

Always question this type of message and, before acting, contact the person or company sending it to be sure if the situation is real or not.

Check out: Here’s How to Choose Your Next Antivirus Software

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