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Cyber Threats: Phishing and Spoofing

As cyberspace becomes a larger part of everyday life, the threat of cybercrimes becomes more prevalent. Consumers conduct all sorts of business over the Internet, which involves storing and transferring personal information on various online sites. Accordingly, the wealth of personal information available over the Internet has drawn in a new type of crime–phishing and spoofing. Cybercriminals disguise as other people, or legitimate business entities, and they entice consumers to give out personal information, such as bank account numbers. These tactics also help cybercriminals steal people’s identities.

What is the Difference Between Phishing and Spoofing?

Phishing is the practice of posing as a legitimate business entity to trick consumers into turning over personal information, such as passwords and bank account numbers. The cybercriminals then use this information to break into accounts and transfer money. They may also use this personal information to apply for credit cards, spend extravagant amounts of money, and ruin people’s credit. This is how cyber criminals perpetuate identify theft through phishing. With the right personal or financial information, cybercriminals disguise as other people, building up exorbitant debt against the victim.

Spoofing is much like phishing in that it involves people and programs that pose as another person or business in order to gain information or any sort of advantage. For instance, spoofing agents use technology to alter their caller ID, so that when they call, the ID reads as a legitimate business. The consumer sees the name of the business and willingly gives out personal information. A lesser-known type of spoofing involves a copyright holder’s practice of placing damaged files on file sharing networks to discourage illegal downloads.

How Can Consumers Protect Against Phishing or Spoofing?

The California State Department of Justice warns consumers to look for emails that look very official. The cyber thieves will often disguise emails to look formal and convince people to turn over personal information. The most common technique is to use familiar company names to come across as a legitimate business venture. The Consumer Federation of America also warns that spoofing attempts to single out employee emails, and disguise their message, so that it appears to be from their employer.

Consumers can protect themselves by taking extra care before sending any personal information via email. Make sure that links in emails are trusted before clicking on any such links or opening attachments. Phishing and spoofing threats also exist over the phone, so consumers should be careful before giving out any personal information to callers.

At the Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh, we guide our clients in legal matters regarding all aspects of copyright law by using extensive knowledge and skills to create innovative solutions. Please contact us today to set up a confidential consultation.