Spoofing Explained

Spoofing Explained

By using a mask of a trusted source, scammers trick thousands of victims, damaging their bank accounts. It only takes a single email to get trapped, especially when it comes to spoofing attacks. But how exactly does spoofing work? Typically, hackers pretend to be other people or businesses. That’s not all. Spoofing can evolve into identity theft and other dangerous crimes. 

Using this malicious technique, cybercriminals spoof emails, websites, or even calls to earn the victim’s trust. Once that’s checked out of the list, scammers access personal information and steal funds. The most important part is the one where you find out more about how to prevent such attacks and protect your personal information from malicious attacks. Read the full article to find out. 

What Is Spoofing? 

Spoofing explains the behavior behind a cybercriminal and their bad intentions. With spoofing, the hacker’s goal is to impersonate another person or a device and trick the victim into doing something for the hacker. That’s why spoofing attacks are all times when a cybercriminal disguises their true identity and poses as something else.

That said, spoofing attacks are very alarming in the sense that they involve pieces and elements of social engineering attacks, which means that hackers target certain victims on purpose. They feed on their vulnerabilities, such as the lack of IT knowledge and fear. Despite popular misconceptions, anyone can become a spoofing attack, as it comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, as well as technical difficulty. 

How Do Spoofing Attacks Happen? 

The core of a spoofing attack remains the spoof, which can be a fake email or an illegitimate website, for example. Another element that makes spoofing so dangerous is the mentioned social engineering aspect, which pushes people to give out personal information and take action for the fraudster’s benefit.

On the other side of the fence, we have the fraudster. Their goal is to spread malicious malware and gain access to important security databases. Very often, businesses that experience spoofing attacks are more likely to suffer from ransomware and data breaches. Since spoofing is known for its deception-based schemes, it’s difficult to detect. That’s why cybersecurity specialists recommend staying up to date when it comes to the latest news regarding spoofing attacks. 

What’s The Difference? Spoofing Vs. Phishing

Scammers use spoofing tactics to tick others while sending phishing emails. Similar to spoofed emails, phishing attacks also carry the bait. So what’s the difference? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Spoofing mimics the look and the behavior of a well-known source. 
  • Spoofing uses someone else’s information and identity. 
  • Phishing aims to access sensitive data. 
  • Phishing uses bait and tricks victims, which can also later lead to identity theft. 

The difference is that spoofing attacks are based on another identity, while phishing attacks try to steal personal information. Despite that, when it comes to emails, this type of phishing and spoofing is very similar. 

What Are The Main Types Of Spoofing?

Even though there are different types of spoofing, all cybercriminals have the same goal when conducting these attacks, which is to impersonate a trusted source and steal data. By exploiting vulnerabilities, hackers can easily take advantage of the victims’ trust. 

Let’s take a look at the most popular spoofing attacks. 

1. IP Spoofing

Different from email spoofing attacks, IP spoofing targets networks, meaning that the hacker tries to access the whole system instead of a person’s account. Using IP spoofing, cybercriminals make it look like the messages came from a legitimate source. In reality, attackers use a spoofed IP. 

To succeed with this attack, cybercriminals use an actual IP address that comes from an IP host. But there’s a twist. They alter the headers to make it seem that the message comes from a trusted network, aka the original source. Detecting IP spoofing is extremely important because such attacks can affect the entire network, especially if they come along with DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.

How to Prevent IP Spoofing?

  • Verify and authenticate all IPs. You can use third-party proxy detection and ID Verification solutions. 
  • Use a firewall and protect all your devices. 
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). 
  • Use ongoing monitoring and screening to detect suspicious activity. 

2. Email Spoofing

This type of spoofing tops the list of the most common spoofing attack types. Even though this isn’t the most complicated type of spoofing, there are thousands of email spoofing victims annually. How does it happen? The cybercriminal fakes an email header, which is later displayed for the email recipient.

Unless the person closely inspects the sender’s details, they can fake the consequences of an email spoofing attack. Especially if the sender’s name seems familiar, they are more likely to trust the message. Often, spoofed emails contain money transfer requests or questions about gaining access to certain networks. As a bonus, hackers attach files that include malware when opened. Once again, in this scenario, the goal is to infect the entire system. 

How to Prevent Email Spoofing? 

  • Secure your email password by creating unique credentials. 
  • Turn on your spam filter to avoid spoofed emails. 
  • Inspect and analyze the email header. 

3. Phone Spoofing

Phone or caller ID spoofing is when someone fakes data sent to the victim’s caller ID in order to hide their true identity. Scammers falsify phone data because of the higher success rate. Victims tend to pick up the phone more often when they see a local phone number instead of one that is unfamiliar to them. As soon as the person picks up the phone, the scammer tries to trick them into providing sensitive information, which is later used for criminal activities. 

How to Prevent Phone Spoofing?

  • Be cautious when answering unknown numbers. 
  • Contact your phone carrier to see if they can help you with filtering spam calls. 
  • Install an app that will automatically block malicious calls for you. 

Key Takeaways To Remember

Even if you’ve heard it before, we’ll say it again. Think before you click remains the golden rule of cybersecurity. Staying sharp and remaining vigilant against the most popular spoofing threats remains the top priority for businesses and individuals that want to protect their data. Once you set up a strong security system that includes training and constant monitoring, additionally various robust technological solutions, you’ll higher your chances of preventing cybercrime.