With the growing digital world, phishing is a common term today. So, what actually is phishing?
What is Phishing, Anyway?
Phishing is a type of scam activity and generally involves sending emails with a sole intent of acquiring personal and sensitive information of the users for fraudulent purposes. This activity typically uses social engineering to obtain details such as your Internet banking or email password.
Phishing is one of the most dangerous cybercrimes and can have significant and lasting consequences. Why is this so? Whilst antivirus software is of some help, by scanning for fradulant links in email, for types of phishing, no antivirus software can help you detect the activity and stop it in advance. Usually, you will not realize its situation till it’s too late and your data has already been compromised.
The unique aspect of phishing is that the scammers do not need to introduce any sort of virus within your system. In fact, the users are responsible for the loss of data security since they follow the link and give away information.
What happens next? The intruder already has your personal data and can utilize it to his or her requirements. The most common consequence for this is identity theft which can, in turn, lead to other adverse results. Be it your financial information, or personal data, everything is put at stake. For some victims of phishing attacks, it can take years to recover from the damage caused.
Phishing Causes Permanent Damage
The most alarming aspect about this is that phishing and related activities are on the rise now. Each year gives us an increased count of phishing attacks. Let us consider an example here to understand the increasing impact of phishing on the virtual cyber world.
In 2016 we saw a 65 % increase in phishing attacks. The estimated total number of phishing attacks in 2016 was 1,220,523. This means, phishing attacks are not rare and do not wait for specific days. There are such attacks on a regular basis.
In all probability, these attacks target smaller groups of users. However, when all the small contributions are considered together, the phishers are making quite the profit here! To sum up the situation for 2016, the volume of phishing mails increased four times.
What Do The Stats Say?
- Considering 2016, 1 out of every 131 emails contained phishing links. This was the highest stats in the last 5 years.
- The biggest danger for phishing is where this activity manifests itself the most. This includes fake inbox messages. This is what attracts people to phishing scams the most. Fake invoices comprise about 26% of the total phishing areas while emails occupy only 6% of the total phishing possibility.
- Apple IDs are the most common target for phishing scams. According to research, one in every four Apple IDs is being attacked. This is followed by Outlook emails and Gmail credentials are relatively safer and rank third on the list.
- Business email compromise (BEC) scam is another such danger of phishing. Every day, around 400 businesses are becoming a victim of BEC scams.
The only way to stay safe from any phishing attack is by staying alert. Do not open emails from unauthorized sources. Additionally, install an anti-phishing software on your system which will scan your emails and messages and would alert you in advance.
Further, make it a point to not reveal your confidential data on third party websites until and unless you are sure of them.
If you would like to learn more about phishing and how to protect yourself, The Hawkesbury Geek is happy to address all your concerns. Please contact us if you would like more information.