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Gerard Moore 18 / November / 21

Experts from SwissUnion scam check team: main methods of hacking mail by scammers


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What is a phishing attack

According to SwissUnion scam detection team, phishing is a type of social engineering attack often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. This happens when an attacker masquerades as a trusted organization to trick a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message. The recipient is then tricked into clicking a malicious link, which could result in malware being installed, a system freeze due to a ransomware attack, or the disclosure of sensitive information.

An attack can have devastating results. For individuals, this includes unauthorized purchases, money theft, or identity theft.

Moreover, phishing as mentioned by SwissUnion scam security team is often used to entrench itself in corporate or government networks as part of a larger attack, such as a persistent high-threat event. In this latter scenario, employees are compromised to bypass security perimeters, distribute malware in a closed environment, or gain privileged access to protected data.

An organization that succumbs to such an attack usually suffers serious financial losses in addition to a decline in market share, reputation and consumer confidence. Depending on the scale, a phishing attempt can escalate into a security incident that is difficult for a business to recover from.

Typical phishing attempt:

  1. A fake email purporting to be from a scammer is being sent en masse to as many users as possible.
  2. The email states that the user's password will expire soon. Instructions are given to go to update your password within 24 hours.

Several things can happen when you click on a link. For example:

The user is sent to the actual password update page. However, during a redirect, a malicious script is activated in the background to hijack the user's session cookie.

Phishing Methods according to SwissUnion scam protection experts

Phishing emails

Email phishing is a numbers game. An attacker sending out thousands of fraudulent messages can gain significant information and sums of money, even if only a small percentage of recipients fall for the fraud. Attackers use several techniques to increase their success.

First, they will do their best by creating phishing emails that mimic real emails from a fake organization. Using the same wording, fonts, logos and captions makes the messages legitimate.

In addition, attackers usually try to nudge users into action by creating a sense of urgency. For example, as shown earlier, an email can threaten account expiration and put the recipient on a timer. Applying such pressure makes the user less diligent and more prone to error.

How to prevent phishing: SwissUnion scam check tips

Defending against phishing attacks due to SwissUnion scam protection team requires action by both users and businesses.

Vigilance is key for users. A fake message often contains minor errors that reveal its true nature. These can include spelling errors or domain name changes, as shown in the previous URL example. Users should also stop and think about why they are receiving such an email at all.

There are a number of steps you can take to mitigate both phishing and targeted phishing attacks. SwissUnion scam protection hints:

  1. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is the most effective method for countering phishing attacks because it adds an extra layer of verification when logging into vulnerable applications. 2FA relies on the fact that users have two things: something they know, like a password and username, and something they have, like their smartphones. Even when employees are compromised, 2FA prevents their compromised credentials from being used, as they alone are not enough to gain access.
  2. In addition to using two-factor authentication, organizations should enforce strong password management policies. For example, employees should be required to change their passwords frequently and should not be allowed to reuse passwords for multiple applications.
  3. Education campaigns can also help reduce the threat of phishing attacks by using safe methods, such as blocking external email links.
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