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Digital Identity Verification

Jul 01, 2024

Understanding Phishing and How to Avoid It with Verification

Phishing is a form of cyber attack where attackers attempt to obtain personal information by impersonating a trusted entity.

Phishing is a type of cyber attack where attackers attempt to obtain personal information or sensitive data by impersonating a trusted entity. These attacks often involve sending links via email, SMS, WhatsApp, or websites. The primary goal of phishing is to breach accounts or commit financial fraud, typically by first stealing an identity.

Types of Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks can be divided into several types, including:

- Spear Phishing: Targeted attacks on specific individuals or organizations using personal information to make messages more convincing.
- Whaling: Phishing aimed at high-profile individuals like CEOs or company executives.
- Clone Phishing: Attacks where legitimate emails are modified to include malicious links or attachments.

Using Deepfake for Phishing

Deepfake technology, which uses AI to create highly realistic fake videos or audio, is often seen in social media entertainment, such as celebrities endorsing products they never actually promoted. However, deepfakes can also be used in phishing to make victims believe they are interacting with someone they know or a legitimate entity.

In phishing, deepfakes are used in videos to further convince victims. For example, a fake video call from a boss requesting an urgent fund transfer or a fake voice message from a bank asking for account verification. The realistic quality of deepfakes makes phishing attacks harder to detect.

Phishing Case Examples

1. Bank Fraud through Fake Emails

A bank customer receives an email appearing to be from their bank, complete with logos and a convincing email address. The email asks the customer to update their account information via an included link. The customer unwittingly enters their personal information on a fake website, allowing the attacker to access their bank account and withdraw funds without their knowledge.

2. Phishing Attack with Deepfake

A company executive receives a video call that seems to be from their CEO, requesting an urgent fund transfer for business purposes. The executive, unaware that the video call is a deepfake, transfers the funds. Only after the transfer does the executive realize they have been scammed. This scenario occurred in Hong Kong, resulting in a $25 million loss.

How Verification Can Help Avoid Phishing

Verification is one of the most effective ways to protect against phishing attacks. Some verification methods include:

- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Adds an extra layer of security by requiring a verification code in addition to a password. This code is typically sent to another device, such as a phone.

- Biometric Authentication: Uses fingerprints or facial recognition to confirm the user's identity.

- Passive Liveness Detection: Ensures that the user is a real person, not a synthetic image.

By implementing these verification methods, organizations and individuals make it harder for attackers to succeed with phishing attempts, as they would need to bypass additional, more difficult security layers.

Consistently applying these verification measures can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to phishing attacks and keep sensitive information secure.

VIDA - Verified Identity for All. VIDA provides a trusted digital identity platform.

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Phishing is a form of cyber attack where attackers attempt to obtain personal information by impersonating a trusted entity.

July 01, 2024