What Is Phishing And How To Prevent It?


Are you familiar with Phishing? Do you know what is Phishing? I will thoroughly explain this and I will tell you how to prevent it in this blog post.

What Is Phishing?

What Is Phishing?


Phishing is a serious cybercrime in which the unsuspecting victim is contacted by text message, email, or telephone by a cybercriminal (Phisher).


But the Phisher poses as a trustworthy entity in an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, bank/credit card info, and money.


After the information has been acquired it will be used to gain access to sensitive information which may result in identity theft.




What Does A Phishing Email Look Like?


Phishing Email
Phishing Email

If you receive an offer by email that seems too good to be true, it probably is. For Example, if the sender of the email claims that you won the lottery, you won a new car, or any other type of extravagant prize.


This is likely a phishing email and it would be in your best interest to delete.


If you receive an offer for some great deals that are only available for a limited time. You should be cautious, sometimes the cybercriminal will tell you that you only have a few minutes to respond if you would like to take advantage of the offer. This is probably a phishing email.


If you receive an email from what appears to be a trustworthy entity asking you to update your personal account immediately or it will be suspended.


This is most likely a phishing email, if you have doubts you should go directly to the source to determine the authenticity of the email you received.


If you receive an email that you weren’t expecting with an attachment that does not make sense, you probably shouldn’t open it, it would be in your best interest to delete it.


Types Of Phishing:


Clone Phishing


Clone Phishing is done by using a previously delivered, legitimate email that has an attachment or a link. The Phisher will then create an almost identical email or a cloned email.


However, the link or the attachment in the email will be replaced with a malicious version that will be sent from an email address that has been spoofed to appear as though it came from the original sender.


The sender may claim that it’s an updated version of the original.


Spear Phishing


The term Spear Phishing derived from Phishing attempts that were directed at specific companies or individuals.


Phishers who participate in Spear Phishing will focus their attention on that one person or one company in which they are targeting and they will try to gather as much information as possible to increases their chances of success.


In the 2016 presidential campaign Threat Group-4127 used some Spear Phishing techniques to gather private info from email accounts that were linked to Hillary Clinton.


Whale Phishing


Whale Phishing derived from Spear Phishing which is directed to high-profile targets. In all these cases, the Phishers would target a high profile person and their role in their particular company.


These Whale attack emails are designed around some type of executive issues such as a customer complaint or a subpoena.


Link Phishing


The majority of Phishing techniques use some type of technical manipulation to make an attachment or a link in an email and the spoofed website appear to belong to the spoofed organization.


Phishers will often use misspelled URLs and subdomains to trick unsuspecting victims. For example:   URL, https://www.yourbank.login.com/, when you look at it, it may appear as though the URL will take you to the login section of yourbank’s website.


However, the URL actually points to “yourbank” this is a great example of Link Phishing.   Internalized domain names (IDN) are often exploited via IDN spoofing or homographic attacks. When this occurs, you will see website addresses that are visually identical to legitimate sites.


However, they always lead to a malicious version, Phishers accomplish this by using URL redirectors on the websites of legitimate organizations to disguise malicious URLs with a legitimate domain that we all know and trust.


SSL certificates cannot solve this problem because it’s easy for a phisher to purchase a valid SSL certificate and change the content to spoof a legitimate website, or to host the spoof website without the SSL.


Filter Evasion


Sometimes Phishers use images instead of using text, this makes it harder for the anti-phishing filters to detect the text that’s normally used in phishing emails.


As a result of this, some more sophisticated anti-phishing filters have been made, these filters can read hidden text in images due to optical character recognition (OCR).


Website Forgery


This refers to the JavaScript-based Phishing scams that alter the address bar of the website that they lead to. The Phisher accomplishes this by putting a picture of a legitimate URL over the address bar.


Or closing the original bar and opening a new bar with the legitimate URL. A Phisher can also exploit flaws in the scripts of a legitimate website to gain access to the victim’s private information.


Cross Site Scripting


This type of attack is referred to as cross-site scripting. This is a big problem because the script directs the victim to sign in at their bank or service’s webpage.


This is difficult to detect because the security certificate and the web address looks correct. But the link to the website was made to carry out the attack. This security flaw was used in 2006 against PayPal.


Anti Phishing


Phishers avoid anti-phishing techniques that scan websites for phishing-related texts. Phishers will often use websites that were made with Adobe Flash, this technique is known as phlashing.


These websites look like the real websites, however, the text is hidden inside a multimedia file.




This is another sneaky tactic used by Phishers to redirect users to phishing websites via malicious browser extensions. However, these Phishing attempts are easier to recognize because the URL of the malicious page is normally different from the login popup dialogue box.


Covert Redirect


This is a type of Phishing in which the Phishers make the links look legitimate. However, when the link is clicked on the victim will be redirected to the attacker’s website.


The Phisher will usually place this under a log-in popup on the affected site’s domain.


For these types of redirects, the Phisher may use a real website instead by corrupting the site with a deceptive login popup box. This makes covert redirect slightly different from the other methods.


Social Engineering


In social engineering, Phishers will encourage victims to click on a variety of unexpected content for social and technical reasons.


For example, a malicious attachment may be disguised as a benign linked Google document.


Voice Phishing


In a Voice Phishing attack, the victim will receive voice messages which claim to be from their bank which tells the victim to call a phone number regarding a problem with their bank account.


This phone number is owned by the Phisher, once this number has been dialed an automated voice prompt will ask the victim to enter their account number and their PIN number. This is known as Vishing.


Sometimes the Phisher uses fake caller-ID data to make it look as though the call is coming from a legitimate organization.


SMS Phishing Aka Smishing


In this method of Phishing, Phishers use sneaky cell phone text messages to deceive the victims to get their private information.




In Tabnabbing the Phisher will exploit tabbed browsing. If the victim has multiple tabs open simultaneously. The Phisher will use a sneaky redirect to redirect the user to the spoofed site.


This method works in reverse to most of the other types of phishing techniques because it does not take the victim directly to the malicious site.  Instead, a fake page is loaded in one of the browser’s open tabs.


Evil Twins


This is a Phishing technique in which the Phisher creates a fake Wi-Fi network which looks similar to a legitimate public network which may be found in public places such as coffee shops, airports, and hotels.


Whenever the victim logs on to the fraudulent network, the Phisher will attempt to capture their private information.



How To Prevent Phishing Attacks:


How To Prevent Phishing Attacks

Even though Phishers are always coming up with new methods of Phishing. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself.


  1. Spam filters can be used to protect yourself against spammy emails.
  2. You can modify your browser settings to prevent fraudulent websites from opening.
  3. Change your passwords regularly and never use the same password more than once.
  4. Report Phishing websites to the authorities and legal action will be taken against them.



Now you know everything there is to know about Phishing, even though you may know how to protect yourself against it.


Phishers are constantly developing new methods to steal our private information, so we must be cautious.


Please let me know if you have any comments or questions about this information in the comment section below.



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