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Tuesday, 24 July 2012
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The term phishing is a generally used by criminals of e-mails and websites in an attempt to gather personal, financial and confidential information.These criminals deceive Internet users into disclosing their bank and financial information or other personal data such as user names and passwords, or into accidentally downloading malicious computer code onto their computers that can allow the criminals access to those computers or the users’ financial accounts.
Phishing is a highly profitable activity for criminals. Over the past years, there has been an increase in the technology and sophistication of these attacks in response to increased user preventions and awareness, in order to maintain profitability. Users have become more aware of phishing crimes and how to identify unrefined phishing sites. In response, criminals are using web browser hazards and perplexed techniques to create phishing scam pages that are more difficult to differentiate from the legitimate sites; thus users can become victims even if they are aware of phishing scams.
In reaction to increasing response from service providers and law enforcement, criminals are using increasing technical sophistication to establish more existential source that support phishing activities. The key building blocks for these infrastructures are the botnets that are used to send phishing emails and host phishing sites.
How does phishing work?
·The most common form of phishing is by email. Pretending to be from a legitimate retailer, bank, or governmentAgency, the sender asks to “confirm” your personal information for some made-up reason. Typically, the emailcontains a link to a phony Website that looks just like legitimate. You enter your personal information on the Website and send it into the hands of the identity thieves.
·Don’t click on links in emails that ask you to provide personal information. To check whether an email or call is really from the company or agency, contact it directly by phone or online. If you don’t have the telephone number, get it from the phone book, directory assistance, or the Internet. Use a search engine to find the official Web site;·
Dos to prevent the phishing attacks
• Protect your computer with anti-virus software, spyware filters, e-mail filters, and firewall programs, and make sure that they are regularly updated.
• Ensure that your Internet browser is up-to-date and security patches are applied.
• Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information or threats of termination of online accounts. Unless the e-mail is digitally signed, you can't be sure it wasn't forged or “spoofed”. Phishers typically ask for information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.
• When contacting your financial institution, use only channels that you know from independent sources are reliableand don’t rely on links contained in e-mails, even if the web address appears to be correct.
• Always ensure that you're using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your Web browser. To make sure you're on a secure Web server, check the beginning of the Web address in your browsers address bar, it should be "https://" rather than just "http://."
• Regularly log into your online accounts. Don't leave them for as long as a month before you check each account.
• Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate. If anything is suspicious, contact your bank and all card issuers.
Don't s to prevent the phishing attacks
• Don't assume that you can correctly identify a website as legitimate just by looking at its general appearance.
• Don’t use the links in an e-mail to get to any web page, if you suspect the message might not be authentic.
• Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages or pop-up windows that ask for personal financial information. You should only communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information via a secure website or the telephone.