There are a lot of bad actors out there in the world of cyber security. Spoofing is yet one more way cybercriminals can masquerade as a trusted source or device with the ultimate goal of stealing sensitive information, extorting money from the user, or installing malware or other malicious software. Imagine giving your business or personal information out to a total stranger thinking that they are a trusted source. Where will that information end up or how could it be used against you? That’s the basis of spoofing where fraudsters can steal or use your information in malicious ways.
What Is Spoofing?
The United States Federal Government describes spoofing as the act of “disguising an email address, sender name, phone number, or website URL—often just by changing one letter, symbol, or number—to convince you that you are interacting with a trusted source.”Spoofing can apply to many forms of communication channels including email, phones, website URLs, or text messages. The most common forms of spoofing include Domain Spoofing, where a cybercriminal impersonates a known business or person with a fake website or email domain to fool people into trusting them; Email Spoofing, where the cyber attack impersonates a trusted company via email, text message or phone call; and the more advance Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) spoofing where hackers intercept data by tricking one device into sending messages to the hacker instead of the intended recipient. You may hear spoofing referred to as a form of phishing because many phishing attacks use spoofing techniques. Spoofing specifically uses someone else's identity to trick users. An example of spoofing is when a business or individual receives an email or communication of some sort from a trusted source such as a bank that they often do business with. The communication asks the user to click a link to urgently fill out needed information. Only that link doesn’t take you to the source you imagined. Instead, the link is malicious and meant to gather your information for later use.
Prevention & Protection
The best way to not fall prey to these types of crimes is to arm yourself with knowledge and proactive behaviors. Here are a few ways you can protect against these events and prevent them from happening to your business or personal data.
Be skeptical of any request for personal information. Confirm that your bank or other business is actually asking for information by going to their site or calling them directly.
Only download files only from trusted sources, and install reputable antivirus and antimalware software.
Never click on attachments or links from unknown sources.
Avoid spoofing emails by turning on your email’s spam filter.