Phishing websites and emails have plagued the internet for decades now. With every step to deter the cybercriminal, the technologically advanced cyber-thieves are often able to defeat even the best efforts to combat them. Phishing emails can easily be spotted or so we like to think. The giveaways are generally considered to be formal or generic greetings, foreign origins, lack of correct spellings and efforts to send millions of dollars to sell dubious products.
Phishing websites are not a minor menace anymore however. Spear Phishing is the type of phishing which targets specific employees in the corporate world or user in the internet. These seasoned cyber attackers know everything about the projects, interests and business of the user. Here’s a look at how phishing websites have advanced and become more sophisticated.
#1 Attack Indicated Careful, Premeditated Thought and Planning
Traditionally, phishing websites and emails had been created by low end scammers who worked for a pittance and used sloppily crafted messages, even spamming people en masse. Now, the professional criminals are operating with crime syndicates. Criminal gangs have made massive amounts and even created large companies trading in the market out of that cash. Professional cybercriminals now work many hours in the day, plotting how to rob you of your money, These companies they create even bribe politicians and law enforcement officials, so that phishing has become an organized crime.
#2 Multiple Attacks Coupled With Research
The spear phishing team works with the researchers to create more relevant topics and projects. Backdoor teams come in after initial entry and access sensitive data of the compromised organization or individual.
#3 Attack from a “Known” Person
Now, spear phishing involves emails from known individuals, whereby either their account has been hacked or the email is from an account meant to resemble their account. The phishing websites are also professionally designed to trick the user into thinking it is a legit site.
#4 Phisher Knows You Inside Out
Here’s another way that phishing websites have become more advanced and scammers have become more adept. Phishing is done with the aid of social engineering even as the phishers sent their time researching you and may even watch your email account for a while. Some emails may even try the charity approach or a pending lawsuit information. Phishing emails come from projects one trusts and works on, because the attacker has plenty of data on the project from other sources, such as the social media account.
#5 Phisher Has Been Monitoring Company Email
This perhaps is the scariest aspect of modern day phishing whereby dozens of email accounts in the company are being monitored. If your company has been compromised, this includes C-suite employees and VVIP email accounts as well. When faced with this problem, it unfortunately necessitates a more drastic cure than working out of a new account or using a new password. You may even need a brand new machine.
#6 The Phisher Can Intercept and Change Emails as Required
This is another indication the creator of your phishing websites or emails is not a passive scammer. The phisher may read and change emails when the need arises. Key recipients may also be removed from the receiver’s list and email groups may be modified. Encryption and signing may be switched off too.
Attackers cover tracks and ensure that the anti virus software is not a deterrent anymore. They are smart, techno savvy and clear about wanting to steal your money or identity. You have to be equally clear about blocking this and just as adept. This is how outsmarting a cybercriminal for real works.