Smishing vs Phishing: How to stay protected?

What is Phishing?

This is most likely the approach used by hackers. It entails sending phishing emails to consumers that direct them to a bogus website that appears like their bank's. Fake fan pages that broadcast false content and solicit private information from individuals may also arise on Facebook.

Phishing fraudsters commonly employ bogus campaigns to update client data or to entice customers to enter a contest that the bank claims to be running. Fraudulent websites ask for personal information such as IDs, online banking passwords, credit card details, and even the security code in order to make online purchases without the customer's knowledge.

Using common sense to avoid providing private information is the first line of protection against phishing. If you are already a bank customer, the financial institution will protect your information and will never send you an email regarding this information. Emails like "you won a reward" or "unblock your account" are never sent by banks. Finally, if you do decide to click on the link, double-check the website's URL. It should start with "https" and have a lock icon before the name.

What is Smishing?

SMS (short messaging service) phishing, sometimes known as "smishing," is a sort of cyberattack in which victims are tricked into disclosing personal information, paying money, or installing malware by receiving false text messages. The purpose of smishing is to deceive you into thinking the message came from a reliable source and to persuade you to take action that gives the attacker vulnerable information.

What Does Smishing Look Like?

  • Cybercriminal sends you a text message, maybe from a faked number that appears to be from a reputable company, possibly one with which you are familiar as a client.

  • The text message is delivered to your phone or another messaging system. It alerts you to an urgent problem with one of your accounts and requests that you verify information in order to remedy it.

  • In an attempt to correct the issue, you reply by clicking on a website or phoning a phone number supplied.

  • You're then sent to a bogus website or contact centre that looks to be legitimate.

  • You could be asked for personal information or asked to download malware.

  • You've given the attacker access to your device if you download the virus. They can use it to spy on you, steal important information, or access your accounts once they have access. Any personal information you enter can be used to impersonate you and gain access to your accounts.

Phishing vs. Smishing

What phishing and smishing have in common is this −

  • An attacker delivers communications to a certain group of people.

  • The communications are intended to deceive the receivers.

  • Malicious links are frequently given to people, and they are encouraged to click on them to visit fake websites.

  • Users may be duped into installing malware or a Trojan horse on their systems.

  • Social engineering tactics are utilised to get access to personal information and steal money from victims.

In smishing, the attacker sends targeted messages via text rather than the "old-fashioned" method of sending messages via email, a fraud that has been around since the 1990s. Smishing is sometimes known as "text phishing" or "cell phone phishing" because of this.

Hackers also use programs like Skype, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and iMessage to exploit victims of smishing attacks.

How to Protect Yourself from Phishing?

  • Spam filters can be used to guard against spam emails. To decide; if a message is a spam, the filters look at the message's origin, the software used to transmit it, and the message's appearance. Spam filters can sometimes prevent emails from legitimate sources. Thus it's not always 100% accurate.

  • In order to prevent fake websites from loading, the browser settings should be modified. Browsers store a list of phoney websites in their cache, and when you try to access one, the URL is banned, or an alert message appears. Only trusted websites should be allowed to open in the browser's settings.

  • While the user picture is visible on many websites, users are required to input login credentials. This sort of system might be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Changing passwords on a frequent basis and never using the same password for many accounts is one technique to assure security. For extra protection, it's also a good idea for websites to implement a CAPTCHA system.

  • To avoid phishing, banks and financial institutions utilise monitoring systems. Individuals can report phishing to industry organisations, which can then take legal action against bogus websites. Employees should get security awareness training so that they are aware of the threats.

  • To avoid phishing, you'll need to change your surfing habits. If you need to verify something, call the firm before inputting any information online.

  • If an email contains a link, mouse over the URL first. "https" denotes a secure website with a valid Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. At some point, all websites will be required to have a valid SSL certificate.

How to Protect Yourself from Smishing?

  • Don't say anything. Even suggestions for responding, such as texting "STOP" to unsubscribe, may be used to track down current phone numbers. Attackers rely on your interest or fear about the issue, but you have the option of refusing to engage.

  • If a message is urgent, take it slowly. Urgent account upgrades and limited-time offers should be treated as red flags of likely smishing. Maintain your scepticism and continue with caution.

  • If you have any doubts, contact your bank or merchant immediately. Text messages are not used by legitimate organisations to seek account changes or login information. Any urgent alerts may also be confirmed immediately on your online accounts or by calling authorised phone support.

  • Use no links or contact information in your message. Use caution when sending links or contact information in communications that make you feel uneasy. When possible, go straight to formal communication channels.

  • Make sure the phone number is correct. Email-to-text services can be identified by odd-looking phone numbers, such as 4-digit ones. This is just one of the numerous ways a fraudster might hide their genuine phone number.

  • Keep credit card numbers off your phone if at all possible. The greatest method to avoid having financial information stolen from a digital wallet is to never put it there in the first place.

  • Multi-factor authentication should be used (MFA). If the account being hacked requires a second "key" for verification, a revealed password may still be worthless to a smishing attacker.