Why Are Phishing Scams Becoming More Dangerous?

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There is no doubt that cybercrime is on the rise. Our modern society relies on connectivity and things happening within an instant. While this has made our lives incredibly easy and convenient, it could also be putting many people in danger.

One of the most common methods of cybercrime that has been developed over the years is phishing scams. Phishing scams are extremely common, and you have even seen phishing emails in your inbox before.

However, hackers are improving their phishing scams and they are becoming more successful with them in terms of tricking their victims into falling for them. Phishing Scams have evolved so much that it is almost impossible to tell them apart from normal emails. Read on to find out how you can identify modern day phishing scams and prevent a cyberattack on your device.


What is Phishing?

Phishing scams are extremely common. You have heard about phishing scams in the past, and they’re most commonly found in your email inbox or text messages in some cases.

Phishing scams are extremely dangerous and they have caused huge amounts of damage over the years. Phishing scams can differ depending on the intentions of the cybercriminals. The most common intentions of the cybercriminals when it comes to phishing scams is to either steal the victim’s login credentials or install malicious software on their device.

Phishing emails will usually contain a link or attachment. Once the victim interacts with this link or attachment one of two things could happen. The link could redirect the victim to a fake website that has been set up by the cybercriminal. The fake website will be installed with a keylogger, which is a software that is able to copy everything that is typed into the website. The website can require anything from login credentials to your banking information. On the other hand, the links or attachments in the email could prompt malicious software to be installed on the victim’s device, oftentimes in the background so that the victim will never know about it being installed.


What is malicious software?

Malicious software is short for ‘malware’. As the name suggests, malware is software that has been designed to cause harm and damage on the victim’s device. The most common forms of malware that you may come across are keylogger, viruses, spyware and ransomware. Malware can be used to steal your personal information or data, or even destroy your files or even your device’s operating system.


How Has Phishing Evolved

Over the years, people have learnt how to identify phishing scams, and many people can spot them a mile away because they know what to look out for. However, in recent years cybercriminals have begun to perfect their phishing scams, making them more believable and thus increasing their success rate.

Modern day hackers are using social engineering to make their phishing scams much more successful than they have ever been before. Social engineering is when hackers pose as a company that the victim may know and trust, and the victim is therefore more likely to interact with the email.

Hackers will craft their phishing emails in such a way that the victim believes that the email has been sent from a reputable company. They will use the same color schemes and logos that the company uses which will trick most people into thinking that the email is legitimate.

One of the most popular recent phishing scams is the Netflix scam. Victims will receive an email that claims they need to follow a link to update their billing information on the Netflix website or risk having their account suspended. Once the victim clicks on the link, they will be taken to a fake website that has a keylogger installed on it. This means that everything the victim types in the website will be copied straight to the cybercriminal’s device.

While the website that the victim has been directed to may be fake, it will still look identical to the real Netflix website, making the victims believe that they were on the actual Netflix website when in fact their personal information and login credentials have been stolen.


How to Identify Phishing Scams

Being able to identify a phishing scam is crucial if you want to avoid becoming the victim of a cyberattack. There are some key red flags that you can look out for in order to identify a phishing scam no matter how well it is presented.

The first thing you should do is look for any spelling or grammatical errors. This is a dead give away in most cases. Reputable companies will always thoroughly proofread their work, and they won’t send out work that has spelling or grammatical errors in them.

You can also look at the sender’s email address. If it doesn’t match the email address that the company normally uses to send you emails it is likely a phishing scam. You can’t have two identical email addresses, so oftentimes a hacker will use substitute letters or numbers in the email address to try and fool the user. For example, they might use N3tflix or Netfl1x.

Finally, the best way to avoid a phishing scam is to not interact with links or attachments in emails, especially those in your junk folder. If an email requests that you update something on a website, it’s best to open a new tab and manually visit the website rather than following a ;link. It might take longer, but it is worth it to avoid becoming the victim of a cybercrime.


Best Defence Against Malware

While avoiding phishing scams should be your top priority, it’s not always possible to do so. Sometimes we make mistakes, and we even have malware installed on our devices from the internet rather than from an email.

This is why it is so crucial to keep your device protected with premium antivirus software that will act as a safety net in case you slip up, you’re only human after all! Antivirus software will constantly scan your device for malware. If any malware is found on your device the antivirus software can take action to remove it safely and keep your device secure.