What is phishing? How to recognize the scam

What is phishing? How to recognize the scam

The fact that there is a lot of lying and cheating on the Internet is clear to most users by now. Besides hacking, phishing is a very common scam. But what is phishing anyway and how does it work? How can users protect themselves effectively against it?

This article clarifies important questions about phishing scams on the Internet, so users have more protection from hackers  in everyday life. We answer the question "What is phishing?".

What is phishing?

What is phishing? According to the definition of phishing, it is the sending of fake emails. These are intended to entice recipients to fall for a scam in some way. This is done, for example, by users revealing sensitive data such as access data or financial information. Fraudsters use the following methods in phishing:

· Social Engineering
· Imitation
· Misleading
· Lies

What is phishing and how does it work?

Phishing is one of the largest hacker attacks and can affect both individuals and entire groups of people. But what is phishing? Mostly, it involves sending emails that look like messages from legitimate companies. Many scammers take impersonation of real companies to the extreme, so many users don't even realize they're falling victim to phishing - even if they actually know about the question "What is phishing?".

Phishing emails have in common that they always show a certain urgency. Users should enter their data as quickly as possible, or it is very important that they click on a specific link. The feeling is created, among other things, by the fact that users are threatened with their account being blocked or with major financial losses if they do not immediately perform the required action. Sometimes recipients of phishing emails are also threatened with losing their job or membership.

This urgency is what makes phishing emails so effective. In view of the alleged emergency, users forget that they are the victim of a phishing attack. They feel stress and do not take the time to check everything carefully. They respond to the demands made, and at this moment it is already too late.

How to recognize phishing emails and protect yourself

Once the question, "What is phishing?" is settled, you should think about how to effectively protect yourself from the scam. There are technical hurdles that phishing emails have to overcome first. Partly, phishing mails are sorted out by the spam folder. But this is not always the case, so in this day and age, people should definitely be concerned with the question "What is phishing?" and how to recognize phishing emails - this is also due to the fact that scammers are constantly developing new strategies and it is becoming increasingly difficult to recognize what is phishing and what is not.

Typical features include a lack of personal salutation, strange sentence structure, poor writing style, and numerous spelling mistakes. Threats and deadlines are also very characteristic. In addition, a certain sense of urgency always emanates from phishing emails.

Users should also pay attention if they receive emails from unknown companies or if there is no connection to the company that is the supposed sender. Basically, you should always be suspicious of email senders you don’t know.

In some cases, fraudsters misuse the email addresses of real people they have gained access to. So it can happen that you get an email from a person you know. However, one of the ways to recognize a phishing email is that it makes no sense or comes out of nowhere and has no apparent context. Therefore, if people suddenly ask for money by mail that you supposedly owe them, or if someone with whom you have not been in contact for a long time suddenly sends you a link, it is most likely a fraud attempt.

What is phishing and how do I react to a phishing attack?

Only those who know about the question "What is phishing?" and know how to deal with the media can act accordingly when a phishing attack occurs. Anyone who has received a suspicious email and suspects that they have just been the victim of a phishing attempt should remain calm. As long as you don’t click on a link or download an attachment rashly, phishing is not an immediate threat.

Therefore, it is important to read the email carefully. If you are not absolutely sure that it is a genuine email from a legitimate sender, you should not open attachments, click on links or reply to the message.

In addition, users who ask themselves the question "What is phishing?" and wonder how they can protect themselves should be aware that financial institutions, airlines or online stores never ask their customers out of the blue to disclose payment data or other sensitive information over the Internet. If you are still unsure about a booking or order, you should contact the company personally. The contact details can be found on the official website. In most cases, a phone call can quickly clarify whether the email is phishing or not.

Another tip is to use an anonymous search engine as a preventive measure. Such a search engine attaches particularly great importance to privacy and stores very little data. This means that one's own email address does not fall into the hands of fraudsters so easily, so that the probability of receiving a phishing email is also reduced.

Conclusion: What is phishing and how do I ensure more protection on the web?

If you want to protect yourself from phishing, you first have to find out about the question "What is phishing? Only when this has been clarified can appropriate precautions be taken. In general, it is recommended to use alternative search engines that work without tracking and where users remain anonymous as far as possible. With a little experience and the necessary knowledge, phishing emails are easy to recognize.