Phishing Definition

KZero Staff
Jul 27, 2023

Phishing is when an attacker attempts to deceive people to have them reveal specific kinds of information that can be exploited or simply to get them to install malware into their computer. The most common types of phishing usually involve emails, telephone calls, and text messages, but phishing attempts can also get much more sophisticated with physical letters and other techniques.

Usually, phishing attacks aim to extract specific information from the victim, such as passwords, credit card information, bank account details, or social security numbers. Most phishing attacks ultimately result in identity theft and financial loss.

How Phishing Works

Phishing attacks are usually not tailored to a specific person, which is why most of them fail. However, when attackers put more work into their attempts and create customized attacks, their success rate increases significantly.

These attacks can target financial institutions, healthcare providers, cloud companies, and any other company that protects sensitive user information that can be exploited. The most dangerous phishing attacks usually involve social engineering techniques where it’s very difficult for the victim to understand that an attack is happening.

The most common signs that an email or a message could be a phishing attack include:

  • An unusual greeting and phrases that you are unfamiliar with;
  • A sense of urgency that is conveyed in the message for no apparent reason;
  • An attachment that does not look convincing;
  • You are not directly addressed by name but just referred to as Sir/Madame;
  • The email address that reached out has a different domain name than the link they are trying to have you click on;
  • There are one or more grammar mistakes, and some of the small details reveal the email was not written by someone professionally.

How to Avoid Phishing Attacks

Organizations and individuals can take several actions to avoid falling victim to phishing:

  • Use strong passwords along with multi-factor authentication
  • Consider adopting passwordless authentication
  • Keep your software up-to-date
  • Provide ongoing training about cyber threats
  • Have a plan in case a threat actor gains unauthorized access to data
KZero Staff

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