Phishing is a hacking technique that involves tricking users into divulging their personal or financial information. This technique is commonly used by cybercriminals to gain access to users’ sensitive data, such as passwords, credit card numbers or bank account information. In this article, we’ll look at how phishing works, the different forms it can take, and the steps you can take to protect yourself from this threat.
How phishing works
Phishing typically works by using emails, instant messages or text messages that appear to come from trusted sources, such as banks, governments or online service companies. Phishing messages are designed to look like official communications, often using logos and layouts similar to those of legitimate organizations. Phishing messages may also include links that redirect users to fraudulent websites, where they are prompted to enter their personal or financial information.
Types of phishing
Phishing can take many forms, each with its own characteristics and purposes. Here are some common examples of phishing types:
Phishing phishing: this involves the use of fraudulent emails to try to persuade users to divulge their personal or financial information using links to fake websites.
Pharming phishing: This involves redirecting users to fake websites by modifying the domain name servers (DNS) of users’ computers.
SMS phishing: This involves the use of fraudulent text messages to try to persuade users to divulge their personal or financial information by using links to fake websites.
Spear phishing: This involves customizing phishing messages to target specific users, such as employees of a company or members of an organization.
How to protect yourself against phishing
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from phishing:
Never disclose your personal or financial information unless you are sure of the source’s legitimacy.
Always check links before clicking on them, by hovering your mouse over them to see the actual web address in the status bar.
Use anti-virus and anti-phishing software to detect phishing messages and fake websites.
Make sure your operating system, browser and applications are up to date with the latest security patches.