Phishing Is Not Phunny

What It Is and How to Protect Yourself from It

Phishing has been around since the mid 90’s but it’s having its hey day right now. Just like a fisherman changes his lures and techniques to land the big one, phishing has continued to evolve and use more sophisticated ways to separate you from your information and your money. In our updated guide we look at what phishing is, the different types of phishing, and how you can protect yourself from phishing. 

What is Phishing?

Criminals want your sensitive information (PINs, passwords, and login details), but because you won’t hand it over to them if they introduce themselves as criminals, they get sneaky. Phishing normally involves sending an email that looks like it’s from someone you trust. They might pretend to be your bank, your internet provider, the taxman, or some other ‘trustworthy’ agency or service provider. The email will normally have a link that they’ll want you to click to update information. They might tell you that you’ve been the victim of a scam or phishing attack, while phishing themselves! The link will take you to a page that looks legitimate but is a fake created by them. Any information you enter on that page they’ll be able to use to access your real bank or other accounts 

Different Types of Phishing 

Beyond the standard phishing modus operandi, there’s a whole new world of different phishing variants to be on the watch for. This list isn’t exhaustive, but these are some of the more common types of phishing you might be a victim of. 

Vishing

This one’s a combo of ‘voice’ and phishing. Vishing is a fraudulent call that might seem like it’s from your bank, tech support, or another large company or service provider. The caller will try and get you to urgently visit a website or reveal your PIN or login details. ​

Spear Phishing

Unlike normal phishing which is a large-scale blanket approach to try and find potential victims, spear phishing involves targeting specific individuals with highly targeted messaging. A category of this is known as whaling when a high value person is targeted such as a CEO or celebrity.

Clone Phishing

A particularly effective and nasty type of phishing, clone phishing involves compromising a person’s email account and then targeting all their contacts. Because the email comes from the correct email account, the nefarious link is more readily clicked.

Smishing

A favourite for targeting smartphone users. The name smishing come from SMS and phishing combined. The message will contain a short link (perfect for disguising its origin) and will often tell you about prizes you’ve won, accounts you must pay, or something else to get you to tap the link.

Business Compromise

One of the most damaging phishing attacks for businesses, a BEC involves compromising a business email and then using it to contact customers and suppliers requesting money or information for further attacks. BEC’s can also involve stealing sensitive information from the business or pretending to be the business CEO making a bank transfer request from the finance team.

Man-In-The-Middle

With this kind of attack the criminal will gain access to an unencrypted Wi-Fi network or create their own. When users join, they will be able to eavesdrop on the conversation, whether that’s an actual conversation between two people, or the transfer of data. They can then pretend to be one of the two parties to obtain information.

Three Simple Steps to Protect Yourselves from Phishing

  1. Don’t Click LinksRather than clicking a link in an email or SMS, navigate to the site yourself through your browser bookmark or search engine. This is especially important with banks and other service providers but can apply to all types of links from all sorts of sources. In general, if you receive unsolicited contact with a link, think twice before you click it.  
  2. Don’t Give Out Your Information – Your personal information is valuable, so treat it with care. If you get a call or email and they want personal information, verify who the caller or sender is first. A quick Google search can often reveal the number to be phishy. Or call the organisation yourself by finding the number from a trustworthy source. 
  3. Contact NT Voice and Data If you’re a business owner you need to protect your business from phishing and hacking attacks. Data shows that every 19 seconds another business in the UK is successfully hacked. We can help you protect your data and ensure secure communications.     
Phone Phishing
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