In this post, we will reveal what spear phishing is all about and how to protect yourself against it.
Spear phishing is an upgraded version of the old “phishing”, but a little more complicated, and of course effective.
The hackers are getting smarter and they understand you value your information. For that reason, they know they can’t just walk up to you and ask you for your username and password, – that won’t work!
What is Spear Phishing?
If you use any email service, you must have received a spam email promising lots of money and so on. That’s a type of phishing, but you didn’t fall for it, did you?
Since this type of phishing has a low success rate, cybercriminals researched and found a hotter type of phishing. They called it “spear-phishing”.
Spear phishing is a targeted form of phishing, which employs some form of social engineering to get the victims’ trust and subsequently hack into their information.
To launch an effective spear-phishing attempt, the hacker needs to know some details about the victim. These details are used for personalization in order to instill trust in the victim, thereby convincing him/her to release their information.
Spear phishing is so effective that it now accounts for 91% of all phishing attempts in the United States.
Looking at this fact, you may want to ask: “why is it so effective? “
How does Spear Phishing work?
Do you know how much information about you is on the internet? A lot!
Honestly, you’re helping the cybercriminals do their job.
Their goal is to pluck as much of your information as possible about you from the giant tree of the internet. Using the collected information, they prepare personalized messages based on your information.
As you may have been told, a phishing PayPal email won’t address you by your name, and may not look personal. However, if you open an email and your name is boldly displayed at the top of the mail, you sit back and relax, thinking it’s legitimate and from PayPal.
It’s very easy to fall prey to these attacks, as they’re not the typical phishing emails you’re used to receiving daily in your inbox. They are specifically targeted and unless you’re careful, you may never get to know it’s an attack until you are attacked.
How to Protect Yourself?
You may want to ask, how did the hacker know so much about me?
On the other hand, the hacker is unaware of your information, just like anyone else. However, we tend to submit ourselves over to hackers.
Think of social media. On Facebook, you can freely answer any question in Facebook answers, from your grandfather’s name to the name of your first pet. Your Facebook profile contains much information about you that the hacker needs not to worry about making research anymore.
Apps you connect to your Facebook sometimes do a great job of stealing your information. You must have completed one, things like; “what car will you buy in 2020?”
These kinds of Facebook gamers are inadvertently selling off their information in the name of fun.
If a hacker succeeds in collecting information from scores of people, the hacker designs emails to fit in with what everyone provided, – scam!
However, if you live in today’s world, it’s important to know the important ways to curb this issue.
Popular ways to protect yourself while online includes:
1. Limit your online information
It’s alarming at the rate at which people upload their details to the internet. Limiting the amount of information you put in the net makes it harder to spot you, and subsequently victimize you.
2. Use a Virtual Private Network
If you must share anything, make sure it is done over a VPN connection. A VPN (a virtual private network) encrypts your data while it’s being transported so hackers are unable to hijack the connection process.
For the very best experience, we recommend RitaVPN as our top pick. RitaVPN is a VPN service that makes your whole internet experience safe and secure, without compromising your information. RitaVPN is also an extremely cheap service, with plans starting from $5.42 monthly for the yearly subscription. This makes RitaVPN the best VPN service provider against spear phishing.
What’s more? RitaVPN can unblock websites with geographical restrictions. Moreover, this feature-packed VPN service is the best. Just make the VPN download and subscription at RitaVPN.com, and you’re great to go.
3. Be careful with emails
Almost all spear-phishing attacks are done using email. So, before you click on any link in that email, check and check again if it’s really from Netflix.
Is the email ending at @netflix.com? (Or a corresponding email suffix)
Are there any typos or grammar errors?
Did the mail align with what you usually receive from the website?
If you can confidently answer these questions, then you should tell if an email is scam or legitimate.
4. Keep up with cybersecurity updates
Hackers and cyber crooks are devising new strategies to get illegitimate access to user information. Except you follow cybersecurity news, you may miss an update, and that may spell doom for digital privacy. Keeping up with the Cybersecurity blog on RitaVPN is a necessity for internet users.
5. Use two-factor authentication
This is an excellent way to prevent hackers from getting to your information even after providing a username and a password. All popular online services are integrating 2FA into their security plans and you have no excuse for not using it.
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Spear phishing is one of the dangerous cyber-attacks in this digital age. With a good VPN service provider like RitaVPN, two-factor authentication protected logins and knowledge of all cybersecurity trends; you’re never going to fall prey to any spear-phishing attack, not anymore.