Friday, January 9, 2015

Phishing Has Surpassed Financially Oriented Aims

By David Simms, Senior Contributor
The Global Institute for Cyber Safety and Standards

The familiar topic of Phishing has gained a higher profile in the world of cyber-stalking and for good reason. This online crime is a form of social engineering in which the attacker attempts to acquire sensitive information from a victim by insidiously charading as a harmless third party. Internet users need to be alert and aware that this is a particularly dangerous type of cyber-stalking in that it can initially appear overwhelmingly innocuous. Such attackers aim to craft the most convincing illusion that they can be trusted, often posing as sympathetic friends or even as legitimate-looking businesses or professionals. They then use acquired information to begin or further escalate a cyber-harassment attack. Often the end result is the extortion of money, blackmail, or simply humiliating and shaming a victim to the outcome of suicide. Sometimes a phisher will use urgent warnings or project themselves as trying to protect the target by giving false information of an impending threat or attack. In any case, these menacing individuals are devious and ultimately will deceive, take from, harm, or damage a victim to acquire gain.

It is important for people to understand that Phishing has been traditionally associated as a cyber-crime term with offenders primarily going after banking information, passwords, and credit cards. Most of us already know to be on high alert when receiving emails or attachments requesting we furnish our private details. However, Phishing has surpassed such financially oriented aims and adapted into a lethal form of cyber-harassment and stalking. Both sides of this coin need discussing.