Phishing, Spamming and Cyberstalking are three of the most common cyber hazards encountered by the average computer user, They range in their potency to cause damage from being mere annoyances to the downright criminal assault on privacy and in the case of Phishing and Cyberstalking the very psyche of its victim, like all enemies the first step to countering them is understanding them, the subtle differences between each of them and how to better deal with them. Learn more about Spamming, Phishing and Cyberstalking.
Phishing is the act of acquiring private information such as usernames, passwords and banking information by posing as a legitimate entity or a trustworthy person or organization, while the most common phishing attacks are carried out by electronic messages such as emails and instant messages.
More malicious and deceptive methods are practised by online criminals that are much harder to see through, email spoofing is one of the most widespread in which the attacker disguises its email address by making it appear as if it originated from a legitimate entity. link manipulation which uses the same concept but on the website scale, the tabnabbing technique which silently redirects the user to a malicious website using the tabs available on most if not all modern web browsers.
The first and most crucial step of dealing with phishing attacks is being vigilant, paying close attention to the website you are on, verifying the identity of the person sending you a suspicious email and in case of online banking information making doubly sure that you are indeed using your bank’s website.
The second line of defence is Anti-Phishing filters which are available in most if not all online security suites, but like all online security measures they are not perfect and you still shouldn’t let your guard down even if you had one installed and running, they will detect and prevent most of the attacks but most are still not all.
Cyberstalking is the use of the internet to stalk or harass an individual, a group or an organization, the scope and intensity of these attacks range from making false accusations and insults to making threats, identity theft and soliciting minors for sex. The attacker may be a stranger or a person who is acquainted with the victim.
Cyberstalking is a criminal offence and is treated by law enforcement as severely as physical harassment, parental control software aids in alerting parents in case the victim is a minor and allows them to seek professional help if need be.
Spamming is the use of electronic messages to send unsolicited bulk messages, in most cases advertising for products indiscriminately, it is the most widespread form of attack on online privacy with a study in 2011 estimating the number of spam messages sent in a year amounted to nearly 7 trillion messages.
Anti-spam filters are commonly available and are readily active on most public Email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo etc, however, they are by no means perfect and some of the spam messages will still find their way into a user’s inbox, thankfully due to their reliance on the user to actively follow the instructions in such spam messages their damage could be limited to just being a mere and sadly regular annoyance.