Look out for these 6 phishing scams
Phishing is a type of cyber fraud that uses misleading emails or other electronic communications to manipulate recipients into sharing sensitive information, clicking on malicious links or opening malicious attachments. Although emails are the most common delivery method for phishing attempts, cybercriminals can also use text messages, social media messages, fake or misleading websites, voicemails or even live phone calls. This article describes six common types of phishing scams to watch out for and provides practical suggestions on how to mitigate them.
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Types of phishing scams
Many significant cyberattacks have included a phishing component. In fact, in its 2021 data intrusion investigation report, Verizon noted that phishing played a role in approximately one-third of all analyzed intrusions. The following are six of the most common types of phishing scams:
- Fraudulent phishing– Fraudulent phishing is when a cybercriminal pretends to be a recognized sender to steal personal information and login information. These emails often deceive victims by asking them to verify account information, change a password or make a payment.
- Targeted spam attacksA spearfishing program is usually aimed at specific individuals or companies and uses personal information to persuade victims to share their data. In these cases, cybercriminals will investigate a victim’s online behavior – such as where they shop or what they share on social media – in order to collect personal information that makes them appear legitimate.
- Whaling—Waling aims to trick high-profile targets such as CEOs, CFOs and chief operating officers into revealing sensitive information, including salary information or intellectual property rights. Because many executives fail to participate in company security training, they are often vulnerable to whaling fraud.
- Vishing—Vishing, or “voice fishing”, occurs when a criminal calls a target phone to get them to share personal or financial information. These fraudsters often disguise themselves as reliable sources, such as a bank or the IRS, and rely on creating a sense of urgency or fear of tricking a victim into giving up sensitive information.
- Smishing—Smishing refers to “SMS phishing” and contains malicious links in SMS text messages. These messages often seem to come from a trusted source and attract victims by offering a coupon code or a chance to win a free prize.
- Pharming—Pharming is a sophisticated method of phishing that redirects a victim to a website that the cybercriminal himself chooses by installing a malicious program on his computer. The goal is to get users to enter their login information or personal information, such as credit card numbers, on the fraudulent website.
How to protect yourself against phishing scams
As more criminals turn to online scams to steal personal and corporate information, business leaders and employees need to be vigilant in their cyber-security efforts. Although no single cybersecurity solution can ward off all phishing attacks, the following measures can minimize their frequency and severity:
- Stay informed about phishing techniques. IT administrators should constantly monitor for new phishing scams and implement staff training accordingly. Using apparent phishing scenarios can help prepare employees for real trials.
- Review a message before clicking. Phishing scams often contain off-kilter URLs, so check the URL before clicking on the site. A secure website always starts with “https.” If you are unsure, go directly to the source instead of clicking on a potentially dangerous link. In addition, phishing scams rely on emotional temptations to attract victims, so be careful with messages that evoke an emotional or fearful reaction.
- Keep computer systems up to date. Security patches are released for computer systems to secure loopholes that cybercriminals inevitably discover and exploit. Download and install new software as soon as it is available, including browser updates.
- Never give out personal information. As a general rule, never share personal or financially sensitive information over the internet. If you are unsure, go to the company’s direct web site and call to see if the request is legitimate.
- Use antivirus software. Implement antivirus software on all work systems to detect and prevent phishing attacks.
- Back up data regularly. Because phishing attacks often leave behind malicious software, including ransomware, companies should have a robust data security program so that attacks do not hinder the organization’s productivity.
We can help.
Phishing scams are becoming more sophisticated and serious. By taking appropriate precautions, organizations can minimize their harm. If you want additional information and resources, we are here to help you analyze your needs and make the right coverage coverage to protect your business from unnecessary risks. You can download a free copy of our e-book, or if you are ready make Cyber Liability Insurance part of your insurance portfolio, Request a suggestion or download and get started with our Cyber & Data Breach Insurance Application and we’ll get you started.