As cybercrime continuously increases, we should be able to detect and avoid potential penetration of hackers to our privacy and accounts. While it is not always possible to detect such attacks, unless you are confronted by it or it’s on the news, having an idea of basic information to identify them is crucially important such as:
Important things to do:
- It is important that you do not panic once you received a very threatening email with a scary subject line.
- Investigate all parts of the email such as grammar, email sender, signature, links in the email, and even salutation.
- Investigate the website you are visiting from the unsolicited and unexpected email such as website URL.
- Do not download any attachment from unsolicited emails claiming unusual activity on your account.
Invalid Website Address
Phishing websites are almost similar to the websites they imitated. However, you can spot the difference through the website URL address. As you can see in the image below, amazon.com is spelled as amazonn.com which is not the correct domain address for Amazon.
If you enter your email information into their login details, your Amazon account will likely be controlled by them.
This is how they operate. They make an imitation website and they send massive email accounts for further actions. Once their victims make the action they wanted to, they’ll be in control of your accounts and they’ll have access to some classified information.
You can do the following to avoid this:
- Be aware of website address you are visiting.
- Do not click on any unsolicited emails
A Sudden Email
How often do you receive emails from your banks? If you happen to receive any unsolicited email with a suspicious message, do not panic right on the spot. You can verify whether it is true or not. Otherwise, you’ll fall into this trap and you might become one of their victims.
Mostly, they will use a very alarming email subject saying “Account Fraud Alert. Please Verify Your Account Information” Then you’ll be asked to fill out some forms to update your information. However, if you do this action, the hackers will have more control over your information and these will be used against your interest such as online purchasing.
Check the Email Sender
If you receive a sudden email that isn’t likely to be true, do not take immediate action. You have to analyze the situation why you received that email. If you are not experiencing any unusual behavior with your account, you can probably disregard the email you received claiming to resolve a security breach issue or whatsoever.
Indeed, they will claim a very serious problem and they are resolving the issue to avoid further problems. However, the opposite of it will likely happen if you do exactly what they wanted you to do.
Check the Grammar/Spelling
Having a grammar or spelling mistake is not likely to happen especially with big brands. If you received an email from a highly reputed organization such as your local bank with an incorrect or unusual email, you are probably being targeted by phishing email campaign.
If this happens, you can directly call your local bank account to verify if they did send you an email claiming unusual behavior concerning your account.
Check Email Salutation
Salutation is often overlooked in emails. However, if the email you received is highly personalized such as concerning your online account or bank account, you should expect to see your name in it. If not, you should be careful giving out your information as you might become a victim of a Phishing campaign.
A legitimate business will always address their client by name. This is an ethical approach to show their respect and to let you know that they know who you are. So you can further investigate the email if it is legitimate or a proven scam.
Why Phishing is so Mainstream in Email?
Email is the fastest way to send information to massive people in just a blink of an eye in one single message.
There are also a lot of internet users who are likely to have single or multiple email accounts which are regularly checked almost 24/7.
Also, the email message looks personalized so if you don’t have catching eyes and if you are not highly attentive to details, you might as well become one of the victims of these hackers.
Last but not the least, there will always be some victims. If they send emails to around five thousand recipients, there will always be a victim at least one or two.
As our technology evolves, hackers will always come up with sophisticated ideas to penetrate and victimize defenseless internet users. It is our responsibility as internet users to protect our own information and be wary of the potential threats by giving away classified information online. Therefore, it is crucial that you know some basic do’s and don’ts to avoid becoming a victim of unauthorized access and use of your personal accounts. The world of hacking has become more sophisticated. Hackers have developed several methods to penetrate online accounts for unauthorized and illegal interest. In fact, NTT Security releases Global Threat Intelligence Report for 2017.
With that data on hand by NTT Security, you can verify how massive the attack happens every single day. You can fairly say that most interest users are prone to online threats and potential hacking victims. As you can see in the summary of their global findings, phishing contributed more than 50% of the attack while we don’t know for sure the exact number of victims, the attack rate itself can give us a strong indication of how devastated it can be.
Summary of Key Global Findings:
- 77% of ransomware was detected in four industry sectors
- 73% of malware attacks started with phishing emails
- 53% of worldwide phishing attacks originated from EMEA
- 33% of all attempted login attacks used the same 25 passwords
- 3 most attacked industries now include Finance and Manufacturing
This is a guest contribution by Sef Cruz, an avid internet user. He aims to spread the importance of online privacy to internet users who does not seem to care what they say, share and do online though his blog about free web proxy. Follow him on Facebook.