Phishing is the method used to steal personal information through spamming or other deceptive means. There are a number of different phishing techniques used to obtain personal information from users. As technology becomes more advanced, the phishing techniques being used are also more advanced. To prevent Internet phishing, users should have knowledge of various types of phishing techniques and they should also be aware of anti-phishing techniques to protect themselves from getting phished. Let’s look at some of these phishing techniques.
Email / Spam
Phishers may send the same email to millions of users, requesting them to fill in personal details. These details will be used by the phishers for their illegal activities. Phishing with email and spam is a very common phishing scam. Most of the messages have an urgent note which requires the user to enter credentials to update account information, change details, and verify accounts. Sometimes, they may be asked to fill out a form to access a new service through a link which is provided in the email.
Web Based Delivery
Web based delivery is one of the most sophisticated phishing techniques. Also known as “man-in-the-middle,” the hacker is located in between the original website and the phishing system. The phisher traces details during a transaction between the legitimate website and the user. As the user continues to pass information, it is gathered by the phishers, without the user knowing about it.
Instant messaging is the method in which the user receives a message with a link directing them to a fake phishing website which has the same look and feel as the legitimate website. If the user doesn’t look at the URL, it may be hard to tell the difference between the fake and legitimate websites. Then, the user is asked to provide personal information on the page.
Trojan hosts are invisible hackers trying to log into your user account to collect credentials through the local machine. The acquired information is then transmitted to phishers.
Link manipulation is the technique in which the phisher sends a link to a website. When the user clicks on the deceptive link, it opens up the phisher’s website instead of the website mentioned in the link. One of the anti-phishing techniques used to prevent link manipulation is to move the mouse over the link to view the actual address.
Key loggers refer to the malware used to identify inputs from the keyboard. The information is sent to the hackers who will decipher passwords and other types of information. To prevent key loggers from accessing personal information, secure websites provide options to use mouse click to make entries through the virtual keyboard.
In session hacking, the phisher exploits the web session control mechanism to steal information from the user. In a simple session hacking procedure known as session sniffing, the phisher can use a sniffer to intercept relevant information so that he or she can access the Web server illegally.
Phishers may send a message whereby the user is asked to reconfigure the settings of the computer. The message may come from a web address which resembles a reliable source.
Content injection is the technique where the phisher changes a part of the content on the page of a reliable website. This is done to mislead the user to go to a page outside the legitimate website where the user is asked to enter personal information.
Phishing through Search Engines
Some phishing scams involve search engines where the user is directed to products sites which may offer low cost products or services. When the user tries to buy the product by entering the credit card details, it’s collected by the phishing site. There are many fake bank websites offering credit cards or loans to users at a low rate but they are actually phishing sites.
In phone phishing, the phisher makes phone calls to the user and asks the user to dial a number. The purpose is to get personal information of the bank account through the phone. Phone phishing is mostly done with a fake caller ID.
Phishing scams involving malware require it to be run on the user’s computer. The malware is usually attached to the email sent to the user by the phishers. Once you click on the link, the malware will start functioning. Sometimes, the malware may also be attached to downloadable files.
Phishers take advantage of the vulnerability of web security services to gain sensitive information which is used for fraudulent purposes. This is why it’s always a good idea to learn about the various phishing techniques, including phishing with Trojans and Spyware.