Cyber crime’s new lethal weapon, how phishing abuses brand names for its advantages

Phishing is a form of manipulation, a social engineering technique in which the hacker creates a bogus URL link or an attachment, and emails it to the victims who’ve got their email addresses publicly displayed on different social media accounts or websites. Using different brand names and a fabricated story, they lure the victim to open the link, a fake web page that resembles the design of a login screen pops up of big names. If the person decides to login, the information entered is copied and stolen.

This is later used to contact the email addresses that are frequently in touch with the hacked one. Phishing has been around since the 2000s, but it wasn’t big until 2016, when a group of Russian hackers by the name of ‘Fancy Bear’ hacked into the Gmail account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair using the same method. The group forged a fake email from Google, warning Mr. Podesta that his password had been leaked. Mr. Podesta was asked to change the password using the bogus link, immediately. This classic ploy ended up leaking controversial information about Mrs. Clinton and her campaign strategy for the ongoing presidential election.

According to data provided by the team of Outseer, 45% of the frauds are done using brand names. The study suggests most of the hackers (73% to be exact) operate from the United States, India (6%) and Russia. While, on the other hand, America (21%) and Spain (14%) were listed on the top with the most victims, being followed up by South Africa and Philippines.

Malicious smartphone apps that exploit an organization’s brand to defraud users were responsible for around 4 in 10 of fraud attacks.
Hacking and social engineering have been around for a long time, but fast forwarding to the age of information technology, today, since mobile phones overtook as a personal need from the computers, a large number of free-to-use apps containing spywares, impersonating big brands such as Apple, Netflix.

According to Norton Secure VPN and Kaspersky security researchers, cybercrime is an ongoing threat. Here are some methods that could help resist this infringement:

• A strong password: Using the same password can be dangerous. Therefore having a different password that should be at least ten characters including alphabets, numbers and symbols.

• Managing your social media accounts: Sharing too much personal information on social media is a no-no. Make sure you share minimum amount of personal information over the internet.

• Knowledge about the internet: Identifying the threat is really important, therefore training sessions for the employees or talking to your children about the pros and cons of the internet is essential.

• Keeping your system updated: Keeping your system updated with all the new security patches helps in minimizing the threat.

• Clicking links of untrustworthy emails: Avoid opening or downloading anything from the links sent to you from an untrustworthy/spam email.

Read next: A majority of consumers think antivirus tools are somewhat effective, according to this study
Previous Post Next Post