Understanding Phishing: Types, Signs, and How to Avoid It
Definition of Phishing
Phishing is a term that originates from the English word “phishing,” which literally adapts the word “fishing.” It is a technique used by cybercriminals to steal information and confidential data from individuals or organizations by using bait or fake data that is highly convincing and similar to the real thing.
Cybercriminals use various methods to carry out phishing attacks. Typically, they do this through deceptive links in emails or text messages, or even through phone calls.
They often disguise their identity to appear as if they are from a legitimate company to lure and convince potential victims to provide sensitive information such as credit card numbers, login information, and national ID numbers.
However, once victims fall into the scammers’ trap, they face the risk of losing their accounts or even money in their bank accounts.
Types of Phishing
In Indonesia, the most common form of phishing attack occurs through the WhatsApp application, often referred to as a scam.
Such attacks usually target individuals. However, there are also attacks targeted at businesses. These tend to be more structured and systematic in their efforts to gain an advantage.
Here are some types of phishing to be aware of:
1. Scam Phishing
Scam phishing is an attempt by cybercriminals to request personal information like bank account numbers, passwords, and credit card numbers. They often send links or files containing malware. The information they obtain is used for account hijacking, stealing money, and conducting transactions.
2. Blind Phishing
Blind phishing is the most common type of phishing attack. These attacks are sent through mass emails without specific targeting. Cybercriminals rely on luck, hoping that at least one recipient will fall into their trap.
3. Spear Phishing
Spear phishing targets specific groups, such as government officials, company customers, or individuals. The goal of these attacks is to obtain critical information, secret files, or financial data.
4. Clone Phishing
This type of scam involves cloning legitimate websites to trick users into entering sensitive information. Users often do not realize they’ve fallen victim to phishing.
Whaling targets “big fish” or high-profile individuals, such as company directors. Perpetrators often impersonate court staff or internal company announcements.
Vishing involves phone-based voice attacks. Criminals often disguise their identity by using invalid phone numbers or VoIP.
This attack is carried out using DNS spoofing and targets multiple victims at once. Criminals redirect URLs to specially created fake pages for this attack.
Smishing is a form of phishing conducted through text messages and often encourages recipients to take specific actions.
How to Avoid Phishing
After understanding what phishing is and its various types, here are some steps to avoid falling victim to phishing:
1. Regularly Check the Security of Your Devices
Phishing is a threat that can infect various applications on your devices, including mobile banking apps. If you store important information on your device, such as in note-taking apps, that data is also at risk if exposed to phishing.
Therefore, it’s wise to routinely check the security of your device. This involves reviewing app usage history, looking for signs of unusual files, and checking your device’s temperature when you have spare time.
2. Handle Login Information Carefully
One way to avoid phishing is to be cautious when handling login information. Too often, we tend to leave login information in risky places, like on public computers or on other people’s phones. It’s best to avoid this behavior unless you want to become a phishing victim.
Additionally, always use unique passwords. If you’re worried about forgetting your passwords, you can keep them in a personal note and ensure that it’s not available to the public.
3. Refuse to Follow Suspicious Email or Text Message Requests
The next step in avoiding phishing is to be skeptical of all suspicious emails or text messages. In a day, you might receive several phishing attempts. Regardless of how often this happens, never follow the instructions of a suspicious sender. If something feels off, try to contact the actual person first.
4. Access Websites with SSL
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a technology used to secure the connection between your device and a website. If you want to protect yourself from phishing and malware attacks, ensure that you only visit websites using the SSL protocol. You can identify this by checking the web address, which should start with “https://” instead of “http.”
5. Be Cautious with Calls from Unknown Numbers
It’s advisable to avoid answering phone calls from unknown numbers. If you must answer such a call, listen to the caller’s reason for the call. If it’s related to personal information or a money request, it’s best not to respond.
6. Don’t Easily Fall for Prizes in Emails or Text Messages
Moreover, it’s essential not to be tempted by prize offers in suspicious emails or text messages. Most of these offers are often just a disguise for phishing. If you fall for it, instead of winning a great prize, you might end up losing valuable data, including your bank account information.
7. Install Anti-Phishing and Anti-Malware Apps
The final step in avoiding phishing is to install anti-phishing and anti-malware protection apps. Many apps of this kind are available on the internet, both for mobile devices and computers. Always keep these apps installed on your devices to protect against phishing and malware attacks.
Phishing is a serious threat in the digital world, and awareness and proper preventive actions are crucial. By following the steps above, you can protect yourself and your personal information from phishing attacks. If you believe you’ve become a victim of phishing, report it to local authorities.
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