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How phishing sites threaten your online security

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Generally, phishing is associated with e-mail messages that mimic, spoof financial institutions such as banks, credit card for example ebay and paypal. These messages appear original to cause victims to reveal vital information.

But e-mail messages are only one little piece of what are called phishing scam. Normally, hackers put out there phishing sites to facilitate phishing. The act of phishing is an online dubious way of acquiring vital information such as login details (username and password), and credit card details by mimicking a trusted source. Social networking sites stand at risk since they are the platform for personal details including credit card details. Some of these phishing sites are hard coded in such away that, they are able to steal any personal details with figures or numbers. Hackers who develop phishing sites are called phishers.

Assuming you check your email one day and find a message from your cousin. You normally get emails from your cousin, but this one seems suspicious, especially since it says you have won half a million dollars and asks you to send your bank account details and donate a fee to receive your award.

Another example: I checked my email one day and I found a message from my bank. I normally get emails from them, especially since it threatens to close my account if I don’t reply immediately. I called the bank and they said they never sent such an email. What do you do? But the interesting issue bubbling around one’s conscience will be how come a phisher used a known email address to send you an email? Phishing sites are able to penetrate weak networks system or leaking websites.

These messages and others like it are examples of phishing, a means of online identity theft.

Apart from stealing financial and personal information, phishers can also lure people to participate unwittingly in money laundering and infect computers with viruses and unwanted programmes. Some of the malicious programs used by phishers include keyloggers and screen capture, remote access Trojans, bots and spyware.

Resolving phishing is known as anti-phishing. Anti-phishing methods are using a firewall and reliable antivirus software.

Phishing has caused many banks to start using two methods of security that include both passwords and physical objects such as tokens or biometric scanners for online banking transactions.

Today software developers and Internet Service Providers offer phishing toolbars that verify security certificates, analyze links and tell you the location where the website you visit is registered.

By Joshua Anquandah
Email: joshua@christianeventghana.com

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