Phishing is the doorway to most cybercrimes. The ones who enter often fall victim to these schemes and experience misfortunes ranging from identity theft to data breaches. These schemes are convenient to disseminate and many people fall into them out of deception. Deception is a game of two and there’s only one winner. Let yourself be the winner by not fighting in a war that you didn’t need to.

According to classic war wisdom, the best tactic in winning the war is to attack the enemy’s strategy. Strategies vary from one enemy to another. It is essential to study these strategies so that you can acknowledge them when you face one. Deception comes in many forms, but a trained eye will not fall into the trap. You need to be careful or else you might not be able to get back on the ground in one piece again.

The previous discussion is all about the forms of phishing including its target potential victims and its method of dissemination while in this discussion, we will talk about the strategies used in all phishing forms.

The following are at risk for your company when it comes to phishing attacks:

  • Confidential information
  • Hacking of website/database
  • Breach of financial, operational, and production processes
  • Intellectual property theft
  • Other soft records on archive
  • Possible disruption of operations
  • Financial cost in cases of ransomware
  • Reputation

Here are some sure-fire ways to recognize phishing strategies:

  1.    Confusing the Spam filter

Have you ever wondered how spam emails are still able to make it to your inbox? It’s not an accident but rather it was deliberately crafted by cybercriminals to successfully penetrate through the built-in spam filter of business emails.

Technique: To avoid detection as spam, the email contains less content so the filter will not have much content to scan. Instead, the phishing email usually contains an image with the message. As usual, the image prompts the victim to take action by clicking on the provided links or taking other actions. Further, an image contains a legitimate brand’s logo to secure the potential victim’s confidence.

  1.    Man in the Middle (MITM) Attack 

This type of technique is more personal because instead of the potential victim is the one performing or responding to a prompt by clicking on links or filling up forms, the perpetrator(s) is the one(s) conversing with the potential victim either through email, text message, or email.

Technique: The perpetrator directly communicates with the potential victim by posing as an agent who bridges between the victim and a legitimate institution such as a financial institution or a government agency. If the victim’s confidence has already been successfully won over, the perpetrator tries their best to acquire personal data including personal security numbers and bank accounts.

  1.    Mixing malicious code with legitimate signatures

Because phishing is a common cybercrime that is only successful when victims click malicious emails, it has to improve its strategy. This strategy looks innocent and trustworthy to potential victims, so the trick usually works.

Technique: Because there is already a widespread information campaign against phishing emails, most people are already informed about not clicking on dubious links. But to keep the business going, phishing techniques have already improved in exhausting all means to lure potential victims. This much more improved technique includes mixing the legitimate-looking and dubious links/code in the content. These dubious codes include random characters and values inserted beside or within legitimate-looking links. This technique is also used to penetrate through the spam filter and could confuse the untrained eye of potential victims.

  1. Free stuff 

The allure of winning something has always appealed to everyone. For some fortunate souls, they do legitimately win and enjoy those prizes without strings attached or without paying a cent. But for most “free” prize prompts sent to emails, it hides with cruel intentions.

Technique: Emails are sent with a catchy subject head that would allure potential victims since it states that you just won a prize even if you don’t remember previously participating in a contest or raffle. The prizes could range from a grand vacation, an expensive gadget, a cash prize, or a free subscription. And because the prizes are too inciting not to notice or not to think twice, potential victims reply to the email or click on the dubious email. Who doesn’t want to win free stuff, right?

  1. Redirection to malicious WebPages

This happens when you visit a dubious website with URLs that are usually unique compared to the common ones. For example, instead of the usual legitimate website address that uses “.com,” the dubious website uses “.ru.”

Technique: It is either that victims deliberately risk and visit the unusual website or that they’ve entered it through clicking a dubious link that was sent through email or text message. If the website is offering free services such as movies, conversion, etc., a lot of people might risk loading the site to avoid paying for services. Most of the time, the dubious site may not pose any harm to the user especially if they’re not going to download any software or extension that will allow malware or a virus to enter their computer’s system, but you can never be too sure. It is better to avoid downloading anything that comes from a dubious website.

Win the war without fighting a battle

These schemes are becoming more sophisticated than we can easily be deceived with just one misstep. But fret not because there’s enough knowledge about protecting yourself and your asset because if you gain knowledge about certain phishing schemes then you are already halfway there with outsmarting these strategies. They say that most wars are already won before they’re fought, and depending on your knowledge before facing a phishing scheme, you could win without putting up a fight.

The best way in winning the phishing war is by investing in cybersecurity. Experts will protect you from the risks of significant data breaches and financial costs, not to mention damaged public relations. Let the experts fight this battle for you while you continue working to grow your business. If you’re interested in discussing cybersecurity measures or employee training, you can call Frank at [email protected] or (847) 894-6304.