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Phishing: Definition, Types, Examples, and How to Prevent It

Last updated: Jul 26, 2023

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is a form of cyberattack that aims to steal personal and sensitive information from users, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and financial data.

These attacks are usually carried out via email, websites, or fake messages designed to appear to be official communications from trusted institutions or organizations.

It requires the perpetrator to trick the victim by impersonating a legitimate entity, such as a bank, e-commerce company, email service provider, or social media platform.

They will use psychological manipulation methods and other manipulation techniques to convince victims to give up their sensitive information.

Types of Phishing

One incident that is often related to phishing is a scam via chat on the WhatsApp application. These cyberattacks usually target individual victims.

However, there are also systematic and structured attacks targeting businesses.

Therefore, in order to avoid this attack, know the following types of phishing:

1. Scam Phishing

Phishing scams are cyberattacks that aim to trick users into providing their personal information.

This information will be used to break into accounts, make transactions, and steal money.

This attack is usually carried out by sending a link or file that has been modified or contains malware via telephone, SMS, email, or social media.

2. Blind Phishing

Blind phishing is one of the most frequent phishing attacks. This attack is sent simultaneously to multiple users.

However, this type of cyberattack doesn't employ any strategy, so it really depends on luck that some users will fall into their trap.

3. Spear Phishing

Compared to the others, this type of phishing is more sophisticated and targets specific targets. Perpetrators will do prior research about their target, including personal or employment information.

Later, this information will be used to create convincing-looking emails. That way, spear phishers can gain access to sensitive accounts or information from their targets.

4. Clone Phishing

This cyberattack is carried out by making a fake copy of an existing email or website.

Generally, phishing clones will ask potential victims to enter personal information in the fields provided.

After filling in the information, the user will be directed to the original email or website. That way, the victim won't notice.

Examples of Phishing

One of the most popular ways of deploying this attack is through emails. However, there are several other ways or examples, such as:

1. Fake Emails

The implementation of this example occurs when a user receives an email from a trusted institution.

The email will ask the user to verify their account information by clicking on the link provided.

However, the link actually leads to a fake website designed to steal users' personal information.

2. Infected Attachments

Another example of phishing is an infected attachment. This way, users will receive emails with attachments disguised as important documents or files of interest.

The attachment actually contains malware or other viruses that can be installed automatically on the user's device. From here, the data and system of the user's device can be easily damaged.

3. Social Media Exploitation

Attackers create websites that mimic social media login pages to steal user account information.

How to Prevent Phishing

Preventing phishing is an important step in maintaining security and protecting yourself from online attacks. Here are some ways to do it:

1. Using the Most Updated SSL

One way to deal with phishing is to implement a valid and up-to-date SSL certificate, which is mandatory at this time.

This is because this security system will help encrypt the communication between the user's device and the server.

That way, sensitive information can be protected from the cyberattack.

2. Update Software Periodically

Software can always be updated to fix security concerns that can be exploited by online attacks.

Therefore, updating the operating system and software must be carried out regularly to prevent attacks.

3. Beware of Fake Websites and Emails

Before entering personal information, always check the URL address of a website. Make sure that the website has signs indicating security, such as a padlock icon in the address bar or the use of the HTTPS protocol.

Also, always be careful with emails that ask for personal information about the user. Never click links or send sensitive information in suspicious emails.

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