Phishing is one of the oldest forms of cyberattacks and it comes in the form of email attacks. You will most likely receive an email that you will want to open whether it is an email from work or a possible job interview or perhaps even a request from your bank. You will be given instructions to click the link or download something, as you do a virus downloads itself to your device and has access to all your data. This is one of the most harmful sorts of cyberattacks given that they are constantly developed and are becoming increasingly sophisticated. It started back in the 1990s and now companies try their hardest to protect their data from phishing messages or phishing emails. What helps distinguish a phishing email from a real person is the sort of message that the email will take. They have become so increasingly dangerous that in the past year alone nearly a third of all the security breaches that were faced by companies were through phishing emails. There is no good news when it comes to stronger cyber-attacks through a phishing email, there are many off-the-shelf tools and templates making it easier to deploy phishing attacks. Here is what you need to know about phishing threats and how to recognize them:

What is a Phishing Kit?

A phishing kit is what criminals can use to launch their attacks and even lead phishing campaigns. You would simply need to download these tools on your device and then you are good to go. It includes phishing website resources and bundles that will help you to launch the attacks the easiest way. On the dark web, you can easily get any of these phishing tools with a variety of bundles making your attacks varied and easier to do. There are websites where you would find a crowd-sourced list of phishing kits as well. Most of the phishing kits allow you to disguise as a trusted source that is likely to earn a click from the receiver.

Types of Phishing:

The types of phishing attacks can only really be distinguished by the purpose of the attack. Phishing messages try to spoof someone else and in this regard, they are quite similar however, they can be distinguished. Here are the two types of phishing messages.:

Looking for Sensitive Information:

This type of message is when the sender or perpetrator is trying to get an important account password or username or even both. This message is tailored to acquire this information for whatever purpose that the attacker desires this information. They normally work because they send out mass emails and at least some of the receivers end up falling for the spoof. Let us say that they send it in the form of a bank message, they will send the message to a large number of people hoping that at least some of the receivers will be users of that bank and will open the link. Eventually, the link will have you landing on a page that very much resembles the landing page of your online bank’s web page. You enter your information and then the attacker will have what they need.

Download a Malware:

The other type of email that will be sent is a malware email that will likely ask you to download some code or malicious software. These are created to be opened so that the receiver can download malware into their device. For example, say they might be sent to an HR employee in the form of a job seeker’s resume. The majority of the time this sort of malware is ransomware. These malicious files often come in document form with a harmful embedded code that is attached to them.

Why Phishing has increased during the Covid-19

Since the criminals who use these techniques rely on some sort of deception technique it’s not unheard of that they rely on crises like the Corona Virus. These kinds of world crises create a sense of urgency which gives the attackers an upper hand. During the pandemic people want jobs, they want directions, and they are constantly looking to hear from their employers, the government, and other regulators. Therefore you must always be careful no matter what email you receive be mindful of opening any links and if you do make sure that you have a reliable anti-virus installed.

If you’ve been Phised, now what?

  • Change all your passwords for the accounts that have been compromised. Also, check your other accounts that use the same or similar passwords as those that were taken by the hacker.
  • Take your computer offline or delete your email account to avoid spreading phishing links to your contact lists.
  • Contact the company or person that was spoofed – it might be someone in your office event the President. It could be a friend or it could be a major company or even your bank.
  • If it happened at work call your IT Department or get in touch with an IT professional to help with the malware on your computers before it affects the whole office.
  • Watch for warning of identity theft and put a fraud alert on your credit account.
  • If you think you put your credit card information (number, expiration, CCV) on the phishing page, cancel your card right away.
  • Scan your device for viruses – clicking malicious links can start downloads of malware that go to work corrupting your computer without you knowing.

How do you prevent phishing?

  • Don’t click on links that seem suspicious
  • If a link directs you to your financial institution website, don’t click on it just open up a separate tab/window and manually type in your financial institutions’ website.
  • Don’t fall for obvious scams that we are all getting now that claim you’ve won a prize or gift card etc.
  • Check the address bar in your browser for suspicious or copycat URLs, for example,  using “r” and “n” to look like an M or tother tricks which will actually take you to an attacker’s site.