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What is phishing?

What is phishing

What exactly does phishing mean?

Phishing is a form of digital fraud in which scammers, for example, act like an important authority with an urgent message for you. Using an e-mail, telephone call, WhatsApp, or SMS, you are requested to provide certain information. As a result, you have given the scammer access to your bank details or personal documents without you realizing it.

The term ‘phishing’ is derived from the word ‘fishing,’ which means ‘to fish.’ Because cybercriminals are, as it were, ‘fishing’ for personal data, this term says something about how they try to scam you.

Phishing in the Netherlands

According to figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), no fewer than 2.5 million Dutch people were victims of phishing in 2021. This form of cybercrime is becoming more common because this type of fraud is increasingly difficult to recognize. Fake emails look increasingly professional, making it difficult for even digitally savvy individuals to distinguish between a ‘genuine’ and a fake email.

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Different forms of phishing

There are different forms of Phishing. The most common form is sending a fake email. Another form of phishing is spear phishing. In this case, the cybercriminal contacts a person or company in a targeted manner. Before this, the criminal investigates the various roles and functions within a company, which allows the fraudster to impersonate a colleague or manager who handles the payments. On behalf of this colleague, the fraudster asks to transfer a payment quickly, mentioning various details that suit the company.

Clone phishing is also a form of phishing. The fraudster copies emails sent to the company. The fraudster replaces the original attachments in these emails with attachments that contain malware. Once this malware is opened, the fraudster can hack into the computer and use the hacked person’s data for criminal purposes.

We also know about phone phishing. In this case, someone is called by an unknown phone number. At the other end of the line are scammers who, for example, act like bank employees or police. They say urgent action is needed to prevent problems or verify something. For example, you must provide your account number or login details for your internet banking.

How can you spot phishing messages?

Recognizing fake emails is an important step in minimizing the chance of being scammed. Phishing emails can be distinguished in several details. For example, look at the e-mail address from which the e-mail was sent. If the email address comes from a trustworthy company, chances are the part after the sign will contain the correct name of the company. Fake emails are often sent from an incorrect email address or contain an extra addition.

If there is a link in an email, you can check it by moving your mouse over the hyperlink. The unsubscribed link will then appear on your screen. If this link matches the link to the sender’s website, it can be trusted. Cybercriminals often use long, illogical URLs, or shorten them using a bit.ly.

Finally, it is essential to know that cybercriminals have an interest in you taking action before you think twice. Cybercriminals often send you messages that require quick action. If you don’t accomplish this, you can lose money or be blocked. In the case of these types of messages, realize that it is extra important not to make hasty decisions.

Phishing via social media

A relatively new form are scams via various social media platforms. The fraudster pretends to be someone else in a fake message and can, for example, ask you to log in to the medium again. Often, the login portal is counterfeit, and it is used to retrieve your data. The criminals who get their hands on these credentials will try to log in to other websites with this data or request money from friends and family through your account.

QR code

QR codes are used to quickly and easily access websites from your phone. However, you have to be careful with this. When scanning a QR code, you do not see in advance which website you will be directed to. So you may enter your login details for your bank account on a website created by criminals.

What if you clicked on a phishing email?

What should you do if you click on a phishing email? In this case, it is necessary to change your passwords for different accounts that you use as soon as possible. Furthermore, contact your bank, if you do not trust the situation, and contact the police.

If clicked on a fake email, you need to be careful with the things you have done or going to do on that device. With the cyber threat detection of Guardey you can monitor if there is suspicious behavior. Try it now for free 14-day trial, and we will send you a cyber alert if we see any suspicious behavior.

Do you want to block phishing threats?

You can stop phishing e-mails using a good spam filter. Unfortunately, all types of phishing can never be completely ruled out. In addition to a spam filter, also set up two-step verification for important accounts, and only submit data via official websites. By using a secure VPN connection, you also give cyber criminals little chance, and all data is locked.

Do you also want to be better protected against phishing? Sign up now for the free 14-day trial at Guardey.

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Register now for free and never stress about cyber crime again.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is gamification?

Gamification is adding game elements into non-game environments, such as security awareness training, to increase participation and foster active learning.

What are the benefits of gamification in security awareness training?

Traditional security awareness training can often be dry and boring. With gamification, the complex subject matter is transformed into an engaging and memorable experience.

By integrating game elements such as challenges, quizzes and rewards, it incentivizes users to actively learn. This makes the training more enjoyable and fosters a sense of competition and achievement. This combination drives better retention and application of cyber security knowledge.

Why is it important to train security awareness on a weekly basis?

Research shows that up to 90% of the learnings from yearly or even quarterly training are forgotten within a few weeks. Guardey was built to keep its users aware of cyber threats 365 days a year. The game comes with short, weekly challenges that slowly builds up the user’s knowledge and eventually drives lasting behavior change.

Which topics are covered in Guardey’s security awareness game?

Guardey covers a wide array of topics to train users about all currently relevant cyber threats, put together in collaboration with ethical hackers and educationalists. The topics covered include phishing, remote work, password security, CEO fraud, ransomware, smishing, and much more.

How much time do the weekly challenges take?

Every challenge takes up to three minutes to complete.

Can I use Guardey to comply with the ISO27001, NIS2, and GDPR security awareness policies?

Yes. ISO27001, NIS2, and GDPR all require that all employees receive appropriate security awareness training. Guardey is always up-to-date with the latest cyber threats, policies, and procedures.

Is security awareness training important for all employees, or just specific roles?

Cybersecurity awareness training is crucial for all employees, not just specific roles. Every staff member can potentially be a target or an unwitting entry point for cyber attacks. Training helps create a security-focused culture and minimizes risks for the entire organization.

While certain roles may require specialized training, a foundational level of training should be accessible to everyone.

In which languages is Guardey available?

Guardey is available in English, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Polish, Swedish and Danish.

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