Phishing is one of the most common forms of cyber attack that exists. It’s simple for cybercriminals to do, and there lies its effectiveness, as it appeals to the fear and naivety of the possible victim to steal personal data.
This method of attack is applies mainly through emails that reach any address, on any platform and, of course, Gmail is not the exception for more forms of security it may have.
To prevent falling for this type of scam, we will explain more details what is phishing, what it is about, how it can be avoided and what does Gmail do to contribute to the fight against this attack model.
What is phishing and what are the risks of suffering it in Gmail?
It is a very common cyberattack model that affects users of email services. Its aim is to trick the user into providing important data, credentials and credit card numbers. The most common method is to send a message to the potential victim from an email address that impersonates a trusted person or company.
The redacted message is intended to scare the user, calling for immediate action to avoid any consequences. This attack model is simple, effective and widely used, since in many cases links are included that lead to pages that are very well made imitations of the originals In these pages, user names, passwords and banking information are requested, among other data that the attacker can use to access the victim’s accounts or sell on the black market.
Phishing is mainly applied to emails and text messages, since they are more difficult to track and offer more facility to impersonate a company or individual that serves the attacker’s purpose. Because Gmail is used by millions of people, this form of crime is extremely common, which is why it is necessary for both the user and the provider to take appropriate measures to prevent this crime.
What are the main methods used to phish email services?
There are so many methods for this type of crime, that it has spread beyond email, to the point that a phisher can even reach your WhatsApp inbox or your text messages. Despite this, the method that offers the most tools for the attacker is email, as it allows you to redirect the user to a page that could jeopardize the integrity of their data.
With this in mind, the most common phishing methods for email services are as follows:
- Spear phishing: It is a phishing method in which an attacker pursues a particular target, which can be a person, an organization, or a position within a company. The attacker sends the target an email containing a large amount of information about the latter, in order to make him believe that he knows him, and steal personal information to sell on the black market.
- Pharming: This variant includes the sending of an email with identity theft that includes a link to a substitute page created by the hacker to deceive the target, making them believe that it is the desired page. Their goal is to steal credentials to sell or use for phishing. It is usually used in search of stealing bank access data.
- Whaling: this method is more based on spoofing. The attacker impersonates a boss, executive or authority figure of a well-known company. The message appears to come from that person and tells a very realistic story, which aims to make the target lower their guard to request money.
Learn step by step the best tips and strategies to avoid phishing your Gmail email account
Regardless of what Google has taken steps to make it easier to identify phishing emails in the service of Gmail, it is necessary to review the necessary strategies to avoid falling into a scam.
Since the scammers’ methodology is similar and applicable to any email service, these strategies work the same way to detect phishing email, no matter what email service you use:
Verify the source account
The first step is make sure that the email that contacts you you are not impersonating an identity. To verify this eIt is necessary to identify if the email account that contacts you is personal or from a company.
Usually, a phisher will choose to impersonate an acquaintance of the target, or a known company. For the first case, the ideal is to contact the sender to make sure they are who they say they are. In the case of a company, usually the best known have contact numbers, and their email addresses are published on the internet, so that you can check if the address that I contacted you is official or not.
Look for misspellings and other signs
The novice or the most careless scammers they tend to allow a spelling error to creep into their texts, so it is always useful to read the message well and look for any misspelling. On top of that, there are signs like non-personalized greetings, signing without company contact details, and the usually compelling tone of the message that betrays a phishing message.
Among the main indicators to which we must be attentive, we can mention the following:
- The message indicates an attempted suspicious activity.
- Urge the user to confirm personal data.
- Offer a coupon for a free prize.
- Attach an account or link to make a payment.
Brand indicator for message identification
Google has developed a technology for your Gmail application that is very useful to combat phishing, as it makes it easier to differentiate a legitimate business email from a potential scam. It’s all about the technology “Brand indicators for message identification”, summarized as BIMI for acronym in English, and consists of identifying messages from verified companies with a logo, which differentiates them from an email created by a phisher.
In certain cases, messages sent by a scammer They will contain links to pages in which you can steal your banking information or of any kind. These links will be hidden by means of a hypertext.
For these situations, hover over hypertext, without clicking, in order to verify that the link is related to the company that sends us the email. Another verification method is to copy the link and run it through a malware detection page such as virustotal.com. On this site you can verify the security of the link.
If you receive a message from an unfamiliar or suspicious sender, and it includes nasalized attachments, please do not download or open them under any circumstances, since they may contain malware designed to spy on your activities. To avoid this mode of attack, it is advisable to keep your operating system and applications safe (firewall and antivirus) updated at all times, and run the files by these applications to verify that they are safe.
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