Staying informed about the latest cybersecurity threats is key to protecting your organization’s technology infrastructure. Phishing, a prevalent form of cyberattack, has undergone significant advancements, posing new challenges for individuals and organizations alike.
Let’s take a look at what phishing is and then dig deeper to highlight some of the latest sophisticated techniques being employed. We’ll also share some suggested best practices to protect your systems and prevent your team members from becoming the next phishing victims.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a type of cybercrime where attackers masquerade as trustworthy entities to deceive individuals into disclosing confidential information. This deceptive practice dates back to the early days of the internet, where it initially focused on emails attempting to lure individuals into revealing passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data. The term “phishing” is a twist on the word “fishing,” as it involves baiting individuals and “fishing” for personal information.
Modern phishing email campaigns are highly sophisticated, often replicating the look and feel of legitimate communications from well-known companies or organizations. These emails often create a sense of urgency or fear, prompting the recipient to act quickly, thus bypassing their better judgment and leading to the disclosure of sensitive data.
The evolution of phishing has mirrored the advancements in technology and communication platforms. Cybercriminals have expanded beyond email to utilize social media, text messages, and even phone calls to execute phishing attacks. The goal remains consistent: to trick individuals into providing personal information or downloading malware.
New Forms of Phishing Attacks
Being alert to new trends helps everyone better protect their systems and employees. The threat of email phishing is ever-present, and cybercriminals are becoming more adept at disguising their bait. However, there are other, yet more sophisticated attacks that you should be aware of. Be on the lookout for these new trends.
1. QR Code Phishing
QR code phishing is a relatively new phishing technique where scammers use QR codes to trick people into visiting malicious websites or downloading malware. This method takes advantage of the growing popularity and convenience of QR codes, which are often used for legitimate purposes like accessing menus in restaurants or connecting to Wi-Fi networks. In an attack, a scammer embeds a harmful link in a QR code. When an unsuspecting user scans the code with their smartphone, they are directed to a phishing website or unintentionally download malicious software.
The danger of QR code phishing lies in the inherent trust people place in these codes and the difficulty in discerning a malicious QR code from a benign one. Users scanning QR codes often do not take note of where the code leads them until after they have scanned it and their browser navigates to the encoded URL. This lack of visibility creates a perfect opportunity for scammers to exploit.
To protect against QR code phishing, try these tips:
- Exercise caution when scanning QR codes. Did the code come from an unknown or unverified source? Users should avoid scanning QR codes that appear in unsolicited emails,