Evolving cyber threats; analysing the dangers of spear phishing, deep fake identity theft and pharming

Evolving cyber threats

Cyber threats are becoming more and more powerful these days. People are trapped using latest tools and technologies. The endless cyber war between the hackers and organization should be blocked. We must look into ways to strengthen our cyber security.

Pandemic has resulted in the increased use of online payments and digital transactions. So, the probability of cyber-attacks has also increased. Frauding has become so advanced that we cannot able to distinguish genuine ones and the scammers. As a part of upgrading program the banks have integrated their digital networks, making the transactions easier for the customers. The cyber frauds are employing vulnerabilities to steal money and information.

Let us look into some of the modern way of attacks.

Spear phishing

Spear phishing is a targeted attack which focuses on particular individual or organization to steal banking credentials and financial informations. This is done by timely collecting the personal information of the target such as date of birth, birth place, relatives, work place etc. These information lead them to the targeted data. Once they find a relative or friend, they try to build a bond with them to leak the targeted information. Around 90% of the attacks occur in this way.

Stay away from spear phishing

Never open unsure links or attachments, especially from strangers. In doubt directly visit the entity’s website. When you receive an email from a stranger, verify the email ID before opening them. Always encrypt your personal data. Enable multi-factor authentication.

Phishing online fraud

Phishing is a technique of attacking the targets and making them share their sensitive informations like username, password, credit card information etc. Usually phishing attacks are carried out using emails or text messages. The description in these messages will contain urgent alerts about the security of the account or transaction problems. Comparing to spear phishing, phishing attacks do not concentrate on one person or organization. They are sent to a group at once.

How to prevent phishing attacks?

  • Educate yourself and your employees of what is phishing attack and how does it look like.
  • Never open suspicious links and attachments.
  • Download anti-phishing add-ons.
  • Never provide your personal information in unauthorized websites or pages.
  • Change your password regularly.

Deepfake identity theft

Deepfake technology helps the scammers to impersonate as identities which are familiar to the target. Deepfake identity theft is hard to identify. The hackers use impersonated documents and even imitate the victim’s voice to cross the verification process. When the hacker finds a person to impersonate, they collect every minute detail of them like biometric identification, audio and video. They can even record the calls.

Protect yourself from deepfake identity theft

Since deepfake technology is hard to detect, we must train ourselves to identify the fake profiles. From the style of communication and the urgency they put, we can easily identify them. When they ask for any financial transactions, double check the account and the person before proceeding with it.

Pharming online fraud

Pharming is an attack strategy that diverts the traffic from one website to another. This can be done using two methods; either the hackers can make changes in the host file on the target’s device or they can exploit the vulnerabilities in the DNS server software. DNS server is responsible for translating Internet names to IP addresses. The threat actors also use infected websites and softwares to perform the attack. They secretly install them in the target’s device without their knowledge. This type of attack is also referred to as ‘phishing without temptation’.

How to prevent pharming online fraud?

To prevent such malicious happenings, install a trustworthy threat-detection software or anti-virus software. When it comes to pharming attacks, every anti-virus software available in the market cannot block them. Conduct a thorough research about different software before selecting one.

Before visiting a website, check the URL. The genuine format of URL starts with HTTPS://

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