In our digital age, the internet is more and more being used to target people with malicious intent. Vishing and phishing are the most common types of “social engineering” used today. This article will define what each are and how to thwart their malicious use. Also, it will discuss how to prevent yourself from being a target.
What is Vishing?
Vishing is a combination of the words voice and phishing. It is a method of getting people to divulge personal information that can be used to commit fraud. It is most commonly used by criminals to steal money from people's bank accounts. It works like this, the criminal uses a text message or call to a vulnerable person, they may even send a photo or video of themselves. They can then pretend to be someone else and ask for money. This could even be someone your close friend or family member. They may pretend to be a financial institution, like the bank or credit card company.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a form of social engineering that uses a social engineering attack to trick a user into disclosing information. This makes the user susceptible to a subsequent “phishing” attack. Phishers can be the same people as vishers, they’re not necessarily the same people. An example of a phishing attack is when you’re on the internet and you see a URL that looks like a secure website but is in fact a fake website for a bank. The purpose is for you to go to the website and input your login information, including your username and password. These are the same information that you use to make secure transactions on your favourite websites. If you give them your credentials, they can do anything from removing your money to deleting your account altogether.
Which is worse?
Vishing is more common than phishing because it does not require a user to be tricked into revealing sensitive information. It has a higher success rate because of this. Phishing requires the user to be tricked, so it is more time consuming because the person must be convinced to reveal their information. This is a big reason why phishing is less common. To prevent yourself from being targeted, there are a few simple things you can do:
First, be sceptical, if you see a text message or call from someone you don’t know, hang up. Don’t reply to a message that isn’t from a contact on your contact list. Delete messages and calls you don’t recognize. If you receive a message or call from a number you don’t know, immediately call your contact’s information services at the number on the message.
Second is to be careful with your social media. Make sure to only connect to people you know. If you are on an online chat service, like Facebook, make sure to only chat with other people you know on there. If you are on a social networking site like Twitter, make sure you only follow people you know by their real names. If you receive a message from a person you don’t know, it may be a good idea to take your relationship online and offline to make sure it’s not a scam. If you feel like you are being threatened in a social media site, don’t hesitate to report it. You can report it to the site or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Third, be careful with the emails you open. If you receive an email where it says it is from a bank or other financial institution, be careful to the link you click on. These sites may look like they are legitimate but are linked to scam sites. Make sure to use caution and double check any link before you click on it. The same goes for websites where a user can enter their credit card or personal information, make sure to verify the site’s security certificate. It should be a green lock. The last thing you should do is enter personal information on a website. Make sure that the website has the legitimate URL.
Fourth, be cautious when you are on the internet. There are different types of malwares for the internet. Vulnerable software is software that is not updated, software that has flaws or not secure or is not secured at all. These weaknesses can be exploited by hackers using malware, which is a type of computer virus. Security software is a way to prevent hackers from attacking your computer. You can use a good antivirus software, firewalls, anti-malware, or a host of other security software programs. Make sure you have enough security software and that you are using the most up-to-date version of the software. If you do not use security software, you should.
Fifth, if you are trying to access accounts on financial institutions, make sure to sign and verify your online transactions. This way, the site will know that you are a real person before sending money or giving access to your accounts. This may take a bit more time to sign and verify your transaction, but it is important to do so. If you sign and verify a transaction, you are proving that you are who you say you are.
If you don’t sign and verify your transaction, the site will think you are a fraud and won’t send you any money. If the site doesn’t know you, you will not be able to access your account. This is a big reason why websites need to verify the accounts. The more verification you have, the more it makes other sites trust you. This also goes for other websites. Therefore, most websites require security software. They want to make sure that the site you are visiting is secure and legitimate. This may take a bit more time to install, but it is necessary for your safety.
Lastly, if you don’t use these steps, you will not only be at risk but also, you will be scammed and you will have wasted time and money.