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What Is a Phishing Attack in Cyber Security, and How Can You Prevent It?

Phishing attacks have become increasingly common in the digital age, posing a significant threat to individuals and businesses. Understanding these attacks and how they work is essential for safeguarding your personal and organisational data.

This blog will delve into phishing attacks’ definition, their types, and effective measures to prevent them.

What is a phishing attack?

Phishing is a cyber-attack in which attackers masquerade as trustworthy entities to deceive their victims into divulging sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, and other personal data.

Typically, phishing attacks are carried out via email but can also be conducted through phone calls, text messages, and social media platforms.

What are the types of phishing attacks

Here we discuss the most common types of Phishing Attacks:

This is the most common form of phishing, where attackers send fraudulent emails that appear to come from a legitimate source. The emails often contain links or attachments designed to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware.

19 Examples of Common Phishing Emails

This targeted phishing is directed at specific individuals or organisations.

The attackers often gather personal information about the target to make the scam appear more convincing.

A spear-phishing that targets high-level executives or other high-profile individuals within an organisation.

The goal is usually to access sensitive corporate data or financial information.

Attackers create an almost identical replica of a legitimate email the victim has previously received, modifying the content to include malicious links or attachments.

Smishing (SMS phishing) involves sending malicious text messages. In contrast, vishing (voice phishing) involves phone calls where the attacker pretends to be a legitimate representative of a known organisation, attempting to trick the victim into sharing sensitive information.

How to prevent phishing attacks?

There are several ways we can avoid phishing attacks:

Provide ongoing education and training to help users recognize phishing attempts and understand the importance of not clicking on suspicious links or sharing personal information.

Use antivirus and anti-phishing software to protect devices from malware and phishing attacks. Keep software and operating systems updated with the latest security patches.

Enable 2FA for all sensitive accounts, adding an extra layer of protection beyond just a password.

Approach any unsolicited email cautiously, mainly if it contains links or attachments. Verify the sender’s email address, and contact the purported sender through a separate, trusted channel if necessary.

Hover the mouse cursor over a link to reveal the destination URL without clicking. Do not click on the link if the URL looks suspicious or does not match the expected destination.

If you receive a request for sensitive information, always verify the authenticity of the proposal through alternative means before sharing any details.

Notify your IT department or relevant security authority about any phishing attempts, so they can take appropriate action to protect others.

How to prevent phishing attacks?

Phishing attacks are a significant threat to cyber security.

By understanding the different types of attacks and implementing the prevention measures discussed in this blog, you can better protect yourself and your organisation from falling victim to these scams. Stay vigilant, and always prioritise your digital safety.

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