Phishing is a very serious problem that is accomplished in a number of different ways. Email spoofing and website spoofing are two of the main methods that phishers will acquire sensitive information from unwary users of the Internet.
While email spoofing and website spoofing are at times used separately, they will often be used together with each other. For example, a spoofed email is used to lure the victim to a spoofed website; the spoofed website will then request personal financial information or login information from the victim. In this way, a successful phishing effort may be carried out.
What is Email Spoofing?
Most people are aware that it’s not wise to download files or to click on links that appear in emails from senders that are unknown. What occurs if the sender seems to be genuine but really isn’t, though? This is exactly what happens during an email spoofing or phishing attack. The hacker sends emails that look as if they originate from sources that are trustworthy. In some cases, they seem to have been sent from legitimate companies; in others, they might even appear to come from co-workers, friends, and family members.
This is exactly how crimes like CEO Fraud get started. Criminals count on targeted employees not questioning to comply with what the ‘CEO’ may be asking for. Ultimately, they give the recipient or victim a false sense of security that will make them more likely to open their files and/or click on links.
There are many different ways to disguise the true starting point of an email. The shrewd use of subdomains is able to make emails look like they are coming from sources that are trusted. For example, the name of a known company could be added to the generic term “customer service” to create a domain that is seemingly trustworthy. Emails that originate from that domain are more apt to be seen as trustworthy. In other cases, phishers will simply transpose a couple of strategic letters in order to make email addresses appear more legitimate. They don’t just use the “from” field, either; they will typically switch around the return path and the “reply to” fields to look as realistic as possible.
What is Website Spoofing?
Comparable to email spoofing, website spoofing is utilized to cause people to believe that they are relating with a trusted, authentic company or person. Especially state-of-the-art methods of website spoofing can result in bogus websites that look virtually identical to their legitimate counterparts. If you happen to be in a hurry, it is particularly easy to be a victim to these websites. At a glance, they often seem to be real. Whenever you log on to a website through a link, it is important to be especially suspicious about it. Take a close look at the URL. Keep in mind, however, that there are many ways to camouflage URLs to make them appear very real.
Website Spoofing Methods
An extensive range of phishing techniques are used to produce and create spoofed websites. As mentioned above, URL camouflaging is a popular method. Through the use of specialized scripts, phishers can conceal the true URL with one that is related to a trusted website. Subdomains are also generally used to confuse Internet users and to give them a false sense of security. Internationalized domains are more and more being used in this way, as well. As with email addresses that are spoofed, URLs may sometimes include a few transposed letters. At a glance, they will appear to be accurate and will be trusted by unsuspecting Internet users.
Don’t Become a Victim!
Even if you happen to be a very experienced Internet user, it can be very easy to fall prey to the sophisticated techniques that are being used in website and email spoofing. With the wool pulled over your eyes, you could unwittingly give phishers information that is extremely damaging. The best way to deal with spoofed emails and spoofed websites is by using caution at all times. If something doesn’t seem “right” about an email, do not open the attached files or click on the included links. Type in a website’s URL manually to steer clear landing on a spoofed version of it. You should be able to avoid most problems by taking your time and being careful.
What to Do if You Are a Victim
Report it to the appropriate people within your organization, including the network administrators. They need to be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.
If you think that your financial accounts may be compromised, immediately get in touch with your financial institution and close the account(s).
Be on the lookout for any unauthorized charges to your account.
Seriously think about reporting the attack to your local police department. Additionally, you can file a report with the Federal Trade Commission or the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Thanks very much for taking the time to read my post on What You Need To Know About Phishing And Spoofing. I hope it has provided needed information for the reader and has helped in some way. If you have Comments or Questions, please leave them below. Also, if you know of Scams that I have not covered on my website, please leave the information below and I will be glad to investigate. Take care.