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Don't fall for the old bait and hook of phishing.

Don’t fall for the old bait and hook of phishing.

You don’t have to be in the IT industry to be aware of the term “phishing.” For the most part, phishing has been in our everyday vernacular for almost a decade.

However, the scam itself has been reeking havoc since 1995.

And just as hackers steadily evolve with new technology, phishing iis just as effective today as it was nearly two decades ago.

Phishing: What’s in the name

Since phishing casts a wide net via emails with hopes of prompting individuals to willingly hand over sensitive information, the name is appropriate.  The email itself is the line, with its seemingly personalized message the bait and hook.

The “ph” was placed in place of the “f” due to an old-school name for hackers.  Back in the day, hackers were also known as “phreaks.” Thus the term connects well with these denizens of underground communities.

The Evolution of Phishing

• The first time the term “phishing” was used was in 1996 via a Usenet newsgroup called alt.online-service.america-online

•  Warez Community—A notorious group of hackers that used America Online (AOL) to communicate with each other IMs and chat rooms.  This group was the first to conduct phishing attacks.

•  Hackers exploited AOL’s instant messenger and email systems by posing as AOL employees in nefarious emails. This practice is known as “email spoofing.”

The emails were a ruse used to acquire sensitive data by coercing AOL users to verify their accounts and billing information; the unsuspecting customers were then led to a spoofed website that appeared official.

This type of scam had never been implemented before in this manner, so credit card information and social security numbers were easy pickings.

•  Based on their rampant success exploiting AOL users, hackers moved on to online payment systems such as PayPal as well as major banks somewhere around 2001.

• Today the process of phishing is essentially the same as it was a decade ago. The major difference is that hackers have improved their methods of email spoofing and website cloning via URL cloaking methods and the use of specialized scripts—making identification of fake websites difficult to determine even to a seasoned surfer of the Internet.

Contact an EzFIM Tech Expert Today

The best way to protect yourself from phishing scams is to be an informed user. If something seems fishy—it probably is.  Go with your gut instincts and err on the side of caution.

Unfortunately, a phishing scam is just one of a myriad of ways a hacker can compromise your system. To protect your computer from hacker’s other means of attack, an affordable file integrity management program is a must.

Contact an EzFIM Tech Expert today to find out more about how to keep your computer’s sensitive data free from the hands of hackers.  Call EzFIM today at: (855) 393-4666, or email us at: info@ezfim.com