Phishing links appear in consumer complaint messages
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Phishing links appear in consumer complaint messages

Abraão Almeida
Abraão Almeida

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In the online world, cybersecurity needs to keep pace with an increasing number of threats. These threats increase daily.

The methods with which cybercriminals orchestrate and deliver their scams are increasingly creative.

A trend that is often seen now, for example, is the use of seemingly harmless messages, complaints from criminals who pose as dissatisfied consumers trying to solve a problem with some company.

The danger is that, in these messages, scammers insert phishing links – and if the employee does not take the necessary precautions, this can be the gateway to malicious actions.

If you are concerned about cyber security aspects, learn here what are the main signs to identify this attack and how to prevent it.

What is phishing?

The term comes from the English language and is used to designate the obtaining of confidential information (data in general) without the authorization, knowledge or consent of the parties that hold this information.

Basically, we can understand phishing as the action of stealing information, stealing data – that is, a form of cybercrime. Criminals often look for usernames, passwords, bank details (such as credit card information), social media access, cloud platform access, etc.

For companies, this poses a serious danger of losing the integrity of financial data, corporate secrets, customer (and employee) information, and a host of other sensitive and private data.

The main types of phishing

There are three main types of phishing techniques. One of the most common is the phishing clone, which tries to trick the victim through a cloned website (fake, but practically identical to the original), through which the victim enters their personal data and access information – for example: a fake page Facebook, in which the victim enters the login credentials, allows the criminal to access the data to connect to the person's real account.

Another modality is whaling (which, for a free translation, would mean something like “whale fishing”). As the name implies, this phishing variation targets more “valuable” data – information from large companies, banks, government agencies, prominent people, etc.

The most common way to apply whaling is through false messages of court notices, banking, customer complaints or any other business/corporate issue. These are much more elaborate messages than the malicious emails you may have already received (which are full of spelling errors, for example).

The third type is spear phishing (spear phishing), which targets specific people and entities and consists of firstly collecting as much information (even generic) about the greatest number of people in order to increase the number of people. chances of success of the attack. It is the most recurrent and the most efficient.

The new forms of phishing

We've listed three main methods of applying phishing, but there's a huge variety within each of these methods, and many of them involve elements of more than one type.

Now, a new phenomenon of attacks is taking place and it is aimed especially at companies, corporations, government entities – in short, groups that deal with a large amount of people and information.

Thus, it is important to know some common points of these techniques, but it is even more essential to be able to keep up with the innovations, variations and new modalities of cyber attacks that constantly emerge.

Attacks on companies, corporations and agencies

In April of this year, companies such as BleepingComputer (an online platform dedicated to help, information exchange and computer technical assistance) reported that several of their employees claimed to receive emails with false user complaints, messages containing links to create ' backdoors' (a method of bypassing encryptions and creating an irregular “gateway” into a network or system) used to hack and break into a company's network.

The most common message in these emails was accompanied by a false “Corporate Lawyer” identification. The most common titles were: "Re: customer complaint in" (Re: consumer complaint - followed by the name of the company targeted by the scam).

In the body of the message, there is a notice that a customer has filed a complaint against the company and that the employee will have part of the salary deducted if he ignores the request. Obviously, this is false: the objective is to pressure the employee to click on the link and thus allow the system to be hacked.

How to protect yourself

Fortunately, for every threat there is a defense mechanism that nullifies or, at the very least, reduces the risks and, consequently, any side effects.

One of the best mechanisms is to properly train all employees of a company, agency, agency or corporation (in short, all people in a work environment) on basic aspects of cybersecurity and responsible behavior in the use of devices, networks, intranet (internal network) and the internet in its entirety.

There needs to be a specific channel for communications between the company and the customers, between the company and other companies and, of course, between the group and legal issues.

Legal issues are not resolved by email, app messages or SMS. They are communicated in writing, by Organs responsible bodies, and defined in the competent places. If there is a legal action brought by some individual against the company, it will not be communicated by an email message that practically forces you to click on a strange link.

You need to know how to identify these strange messages. If something doesn't look right, just don't click on anything, download any files, or enter any information in any form. When in doubt, it is best to contact an industry expert.

A VPN also helps improve the integrity of a network – and there are a number of interesting options created specifically for businesses.

Additional Safety Tips

Also, it is important to maintain a good firewall and professional antivirus software. Another important tip is to create criteria and parameters to block malicious emails. It's worth avoiding downloading executable files from platforms like Google Docs and enabling file extensions so you can better identify what you're dealing with.

The best defense against phishing and all forms of cybercrime is to conduct constant training with company teams, guide employees on security routines, and have IT and cybersecurity experts to perform these procedures.

It is also interesting to use a good VPN capable of covering multiple devices – they help to increase the encryption, integrity and security of the network and all the equipment connected to it.

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