This 2022, all cyberspace citizens should be well aware of the wrath of the spoof. To achieve a great level of awareness, gaining knowledge in the area is critical.
In simple terms, a spoof is when a hacker attempts to trick someone through any means such as an email, a fake link or even a phone call to impersonate a person, organization or any other entity that this person trusts. By “hacking” the person’s trust, cybercriminals can use that as the only component or as one tool within many, typically from more elaborate larger scale types of cyberattacks.
Acyber spoofing attempt can easily catch you off guard, especially in those busy, hectic days, when you can easily overlook something that should seem “off” on an email. This is especially true when you may be tired, and your focus level is by far not where it is supposed to be.
Many lone hackers and even sophisticated cybercriminal organizations are working diligently and often around the clock to look for spoofs characterized by higher sophistication, producing an excellent level of cyber trickery.
Essential Tips to Detect Spoofs
- Scrutinize all communications on all channels such as WhatsApp, emails, and phone calls by actively looking for red flags respective to those channels.
- Look for red flags such as a strange subject line, a writing style different than the one you usually see from that person. Carefully look at the domain name on the email address; sometimes, one letter is changed, in an attempt to trick you that into thinking that the email is from a legitimate source. If a phone call is from an unknown number, let it go to voicemail or answer the call with suspicion and great scrutinity. If you get a message from some on WhatsApp claiming to be your friend, ensure you call them on the video to ensure 100 percent it is them. As you start building your scrutiny muscles, it will get easier and easier as you will gain much more solid foundations in that area and, in turn, increase your chances of quickly detecting cyber spoofs of all kinds.
- Ensure you are using trusted email providers with a proven track record, such as Gmail, which has built-in mechanisms.
- If an email from a trusted source appears to be a spoof, it is a gray area. The most prudent step is to contact that source through official means like a verifiable phone.
- Spoof emails should be reported as Spam and the sending email address blocked.
- Spoofed messages on platforms such as WhatsApp should be reported and their respective phone numbers blocked.
Spoofed communications of any kind are often a conduit to other malware and cyberthreats.
Here is a list of a few cyber threats/malware you should research and learn more about:
- IP Cyber Theft
- Corporate Espionage
- Zero-day Exploits
- Spear Phishing
- SQL Injections
- Drive-by downloads
- Password Cracking
- Malware in all its forms
Let’s aim to tackle spoofing with a knockout in 2022 and beyond.