What is Phishing

Phishing is a term commonly used to refer to an email scam where an attacker, the sender, impersonate an important organisation and lure the recipient into thinking it is a genuine email. It is therefore clearly regarded as a sophisticated form of scam which mostly carried out by emails, but could be delivered via other media.

The important thing in the phishing scam is that the attacker tries to replicate a genuine web page from an established organisation, most commonly financial institutions. The sender then delivers the replicated web page copy with a warning message trying to urge the recipient into taking a drastic action. In this situation many users panic and click on the provided link which leads them to another replicated web page that seems genuine too. At this stage login details are requested from the user and once entered the user is the diverted back to the genuine site to make the process seamless.

Once the attacker has access to login or personal details they can then carry out their criminal activities by accessing the user account and try to cause the maximum damage. The user may not notice this abnormal activities until sometime later when they view their account activities.

It is worth noticing that this kind of illegal activity is on the increase, and every month there are over one million fake websites created. According to Symantec Security Group  there are around 135 millions phishing attacks everyday.

Protection against phishing:                                                         

You can reduce the risk of falling as a victim to phishing emails by following these recommendations:

  • Check the URL of the website, this is the most important thing you must do to establish the origin of the email.
  • Do not provide important login details unless you are certain.
  • Install internet security software that filter spam emails.

Are Personal Wi-Fi Networks Secure?

A common misconception is that home Wi-Fi wireless network is very secure and cannot be accessed by hackers. Although it is true that wireless communications security has improved over the years with the introduction of WPA2 encryption protocol, there are still many weaknesses within the system.

Firstly, internet communication can be intercepted by hackers using sniffing tools such as Wireshack and analyse the many different packets such as SSID, IP address, MAC address and other important information that help identify the network setup. Secondly, using freely available tools, the attacker can use these tools to crack the encrypted signal using the dictionary word search or brute force technique.

If your network has SSID hidden, then unfortunately this will not provide additional security measure. This is because it is easy to scan wireless networks and identify its name (SSID). Furthermore, by disabling the SSID feature it will be more difficult for certain Wi-Fi devices to discover the SSID name and may fail to connect.

Another Wireless security (Wi-Fi) feature that can be easily compromised is the MAC address filtering. In this case, all the MAC addresses of your devices are added to a list inside your router in order to prevent other devices from accessing the network. Unfortunately, Mac addresses can be discovered as they are available outside the encryption process, and hence the attacker can impersonate a MAC address to gain initial access to the wireless network.

Protect you Wi-Fi Network

  • Use a stronger wireless encryption protocol, and for this purpose it must be WPA2-PSK (AES).
  • Don’t use the default router password, instead the password for your wireless network must be unique and strong enough consisting of various combinations of small and capital letters, characters, numbers, etc.
  • Use a wired connection if available.

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