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What Is a Spoofing Attack and How To Prevent Spoofing Attacks?

Spoofing is a malicious activity that can happen through communication channels like text messages, phone calls, emails, IP addresses, servers, etc. More technically, it can involve DNS servers.

The primary purpose of spoofing is to collect user data, steal money, gain unauthorized access, or spread malware to your device. Scammers try to steal your information and assets with every form of online communication.

To prevent yourself from spoofing attacks, you’ll need to know about how it works, what the types are, how you can detect it, and last but not least, the dos and don’ts for the protection against spoofing attacks.

This article contains all the essential information about spoofing. So, read on to understand more.

What Is Spoofing, and How Does It Work?

Spoofing is a cyber-attack when a fraudster pretends to be something else to win a person’s trust to access sensitive data. Spoofing attacks exploit the identity of your contacts, the look of reputable brands, or the address of trusted websites. Hackers disguise their communication, such as emails or phone calls to look like they are coming from a trusted organization. And that is how they try to trick you into exposing your sensitive personal information.

Spoofing attacks can also happen on a technical level through DNS or IP addresses. On this level, spoofing involves fooling a computer or network by false IP address, redirecting traffic at DNS, or faking ARP in the LAN network.

Spoofing works like this: a spoofer sends a fake email that appears to come from a trusted party and may ask you to transfer some money by providing a convincing rationale. Spoofers often know what actions to take to manipulate a victim. For businesses spoofing attacks can lead to ransomware and sometimes more costly and damaging data breaches.

Related: Security Services to Monitor Personal Data Breaches

Types of Spoofing Attacks

There are a variety of spoofing attacks used by cybercriminals. The most frequent ones are:

Website Spoofing

A website spoofing is also called URL spoofing. It happens when a hacker creates a fake website that looks legitimate. When you log in to that website, the hacker gains your credentials that they can use to access your account.

Hackers sometimes use a cloaked URL that redirects you to their system and collects your personal information. Often website spoofing comes with email spoofing; for example, the hacker may send you an email containing the link to a fake website.

Email Spoofing

This is the most common type of spoofing attack. It occurs when a sender forges email headers in the hopes of duping the victim into assuming the email is from someone they know. The email header displays the fraudulent address, which most users take at face value unless they inspect the header closely.

Spoof or Spam emails are usually for money transfer or permission to access a system, or sometimes they contain attachments that install malware on a victim device. In the worst case, malware can go beyond infecting the device and spread all over the network.

Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID is also called phone spoofing. It happens when a hacker falsifies the information sent to your called ID to disguise their identity. Hackers use the technique in VoIP networks to modify caller ID information to present false names and numbers. Hackers do this because they know you are more likely to pick up the local phone call than the one you don’t recognize. Once the recipient answers the phone call, the hacker obtains sensitive information for evil purposes.

IP Spoofing

IP spoofing happens on a deeper level of the internet. When a hacker uses IP spoofing, it means they are messing with the web’s basic protocols. It involves a hacker trying to gain unauthorized access to a system by sending a fake message using a spoofed IP address.

The communication between networks happens in the form of IP packets. This packet contains a header that holds important routing information (including the IP address of source and destination). The hacker modifies the source IP address to make them appear to be from a trusted source.

IP spoofing comes as a part of a DDoS attack. If it is not detected early, it can take the entire network offline.

ARP Spoofing

Address resolution protocol ARP allows hackers to intercept communication between devices on a local area network by disguising their computer as a network member. Hackers often use ARP spoofing to steal or modify data with the man-in-the-middle attacks where a hacker changes or stops any data from reaching the recipient.

DNS Spoofing

DNS spoofing is also called DNS cache poisoning. A type of attack in which DNS records are altered to divert traffic to the hacker’s server instead of the actual server. When you type a web address into the browser, the DNS will find the IP address matching the domain name you searched and redirect you to it. Hackers found techniques to compromise DNS and redirect your traffic to malicious websites.

DNS spoofing aims to trick users into entering their personal information into fraudulent accounts, which they think are their accounts.

GPS Spoofing

GPS spoofing occurs when a victim receives fake signals that look like real ones. Any smartphone with location data can be targeted for a GPS spoofing attack. Hackers use this technique, especially in a car’s GPS, to send you to the wrong place. On a bigger scale, hackers can even potentially interfere with the signals of ships and aircraft.

Related: Best Practices To Secure a Domain (Guide)

How To Detect Spoofing Attacks

The best way to detect spoofing attacks on the user side is to keep a lookout for signs that you’re being spoofed. Let’s look at the indicators from the most common types of spoofing.

Detect Email Spoofing

  • Pay attention to the sender’s address because the email looks similar but slightly different spelling or off by one letter. If you’re unsure, contact the sender to confirm if they send it or not.
  • Be wary of attachments.
  • Spot unusual grammar and typos. It may not be legitimate.

Detect Website Spoofing

  • Double-check the address bar. Make sure the website is using HTTPS protocol.
  • Use a password manager that automatically fills in login credentials. If the software does not fill automatically means the site is spoofed.
  • Make sure the website has a lock symbol on the left of the address bar.

Detect Caller ID Spoofing

  • Constant calls from unknown numbers are usually spoofed.
  • If you get responses to a call or text message that you never initiated, it means your number is spoofed.

How To Prevent Spoofing Attacks?

There are many things you can do to prevent spoofing attacks. Stay one step ahead of scammers by following these do’s and don’ts below:

Dos

Switch On Spam Filter: A spam filter will keep away the spoofed emails coming your way.

Inspect the Communication: Spoof attacks usually contain poor grammar and unusual sentence structure; it may be a legitimate request over an email or text. Be sure to check the email address of the sender and the URL address of the site.

Hover Before Clicking: If you’re unsure about any URL, hover your mouse over the link so that you’ll know where the link is going to take you before you click it.

Confirm the Information: If you have any doubt about an email or call, send a message or call the sender to confirm the information is legitimate or not.

Use Two-Factor Authentication: 2FA adds a layer to your passcodes. However, it’s not foolproof, so consider other security precautions along with it.

Use Cybersecurity Software: Security software provides excellent defense for protecting yourself from hackers. Install antivirus software, Firewall (WAF), Premium global DNS security to protect you from viruses, DDoS attacks, unnecessary traffic, and other malicious threats.

Related: Cybersecurity Checklist for Small and Medium Businesses

Don’ts

Don’t Click Unfamiliar Links and Attachments: If a link or file looks suspicious, avoid clicking them. If they are from an attacker, they may contain malware that can infect your device.

Dont Answer Calls or Emails From an Unrecognized Party: If you don’t recognize the sender, avoid any email or call from them. This can help you prevent any communication from the attacker and save you from any mishap.

Don’t Give Your Personal Information: Don’t give out your personal and sensitive information such as bank details social security numbers to anyone unless you’re 100% sure it’s a trusted source.

Don’t Use the Same Password: Create strong and unique passwords for your different accounts and change them frequently. If a hacker gets one of your passwords, he can also access your other accounts using the same password if they are not unique.

Final Words

We are more dependent on the internet, whether personally or professionally, which increases the threat of spoofing and other vulnerable attacks. With security measurements and a little investment in security, we can protect ourselves from massive losses and regrets.

If you think you have been spoofed, you can contact consumer protection UAE or other similar bodies worldwide. You can also involve law enforcement if you lose money due to spoofing.

The best way to stay safe online is to install cybersecurity software. If you choose AEserver UAE-based hosting, you are safe with any business plan whether you opt for Linux hosting, Windows hosting, Managed WordPress hosting, or any other type of hosting.

Also, be sure to check AEserver’s security softwares to protect your online life today!

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