Phishing: How to Avoid Phishing Scams?
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a one of the lethal cyber-crimes that involves extracting important and very sensitive data online. This is achieved by masquerading as authentic e-commerce websites and tricking the user into exposing details like user ID, password, bank account numbers etc. As a part of social Engineering techniques, phishing raises serious concerns on the consistency of security measures taken by e-commerce sites and reliability of online banking. This has grown into an international issue in recent years with the widespread use of Internet in all areas of business.
APWG (Anti-Phishing Working Group) is a non-profit organization that is working towards eradicating phishing and other deadly sidekicks of it. The recent report shows that there is a whopping escalation in Chinese phishing that is 81% more from one year ago. India, the country accounting for 137 million Internet users, is fourth among the counties that are targeted for phishing attack. Phishing has become a serious cyber crime in recent years. UK, US, South Africa and Iran are the other major countries that are severely hit by international phishing scams.
Social networking sites, emails, online chats and link manipulations are the main sources the phishers depend on. You might have definitely received one or more mails from well-reputed companies, promising a huge amount of money like $100,000 for attempting a survey or being selected through lottery. If you overlooked them, you did right, because it is a trick to extract your personal details. By researching e-commerce sites for the loopholes, these phishers plant links that look authentic. These links direct the users into sites that prompt for user IDs and passwords to hack into their privacy.
Forging the websites is not a new knack in the game. You might say, “I go by the URL in the address bar, not the link”. That does not promise the legitimacy of the site. The URL may be a high definition picture of the legitimate site address, just placed over the fraudulent URL. There are easy-to-use techniques that provide simple ways to reproduce any given website and capture the logs. This makes it just more dangerous. We all make calls to banks and dial the credentials before connecting to the support. Have you ever doubted the genuineness of the VOIP(voice over IP)?, you must indeed. A phisher might send a message that contains a number claiming to be a feedback number of your bank to register your complaints. You dial the number, you will be asked to dial the credentials before reaching the support. This way they make it easily convincing and hard for suspicion.
How to Avoid Phishing Scams?
There are innumerable ways to obtain things for phishers. However, with the right knowledge and caution one can prevent falling prey for phishing. Good browsing habits would cut down the risk factors for a big extent.
Whenever asked to reveal sensitive details, it is clever to confirm the authenticity by contacting the company that is the origin of the mail before giving it away. It’s a good practice to type the genuine URL of the site that you want to visit rather that clicking on the hyperlinks. By default, anti-phishing techniques are incorporated in many browsers. The unrecognized sites can be blocked outright by the software in the browsers like Microsoft’s IE7 browser, Mozilla Firefox 2.0, Safari 3.2, Google Chrome and Opera.
It is always good to ignore mails that ask you to sign–in and interrogate you for your personal details. Just mark them spam, because unsubscribing them would only let the phisher know that the account is active and you might receive more such mails. A little common sense and an eye for details would make it better with above all.