Phishing is a method cybercriminals used to get ahold of people’s information. By pretending to be someone else, fraudsters can trick you into giving them such details as your email password or your login credentials for other websites.
Once the information goes into their hands, they will use it to blackmail you. They may hijack your account and ask for money to return it or use some private data found in your profile to get the money from you.
A potentially even more devastating scenario is the one in which the fraudsters trick their victims into giving away their bank information. In such cases, the cybercriminals often end up emptying out the person’s account.
If you think like this is something that can’t happen to you, the fact that there were over a million phishing reports last year should make you worried. The thing is that phishing schemes have become really elaborate recently, meaning that figuring out that you’re being scammed is really difficult.
An Example of a Phishing Scheme
To trick you into giving away important information, cybercriminals may send you an email that looks almost exactly the same as those emails you receive from reputable websites, e.g. Facebook, Amazon, and so on.
They won’t ask you to give them your login credentials. After all, you would realize that something fishy is going on. Instead, the email will ask you to open a line which will lead to you to a fake website. The website will look almost identical to the real one and will even have a similar domain. But, it won’t be real. The website you open through the phishing link is made by fraudsters to serve as a tool for stealing your password.
Because it looks legit, you will not think too much about whether to sign in to your account or not. But, once you type in your login credentials, you won’t log in. Instead, you’ll just give away your password to the fraudsters. They have special features on the fake website that will record everything you type. And if you type in your password, you’ll basically put it in the hands of the people behind the phishing website.
The bad news is that phishing schemes are getting better all the time. The websites they create look almost 100% the same as originals. There’s almost no chance that an untrained eye would notice a difference between Facebook and a Facebook clone made for phishing purposes.
The key here is the term ‘untrained eye’. Cybercriminals look for victims among regular users who aren’t too familiar with phishing schemes nor, in fact, anything related to online security. Learning more about these sorts of things can get your off the phishing hook.
User training is crucial, but it’s often not enough. As cybercriminals are getting new ideas on how to make their phishing schemes even more elaborate, you need to find a way to stay up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity news.
And that can be a real problem for a regular user. You surely don’t want to spend hours every day educating yourself about ways of keeping your online accounts secure. The solution, however, is pretty simple. Using help from a software tool like the Zonealarm Anti-Phishing tool, in addition to keeping a common sense, could be the key to outsmarting the cybercriminals.
This way, all of your accounts will basically have two layers of security. If you fail to spot a phishing scheme, the anti-phishing tool will. And the same goes vice versa. Although there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk of falling into a phishing trap, using these two methods can certainly lower down that risk.