What is phishing and how dangerous is it?

The term phishing is always associated with the Internet. Nevertheless, many people do not know what it really means and how to protect themselves against it. In addition to phishing mails, there are now also numerous phishing text messages.

There are a lot of terms around emails and the Internet, such as phishing and spam. It is not difficult to spot phishing emails or phishing text messages. Nobody wants to find such messages in their virtual mailbox or with incoming messages. Phishing now takes place not only via email, but also on websites or via SMS. This guide explains how dangerous phishing really is and how you can protect yourself from it.

What does phishing mean?

Phishing has to do directly with obtaining personal data from others. This means, for example, the credit card number or passwords. The term Phishing was derived from the English word ‚fishing‘. The goal is to get hold of access data and passwords.

A false trail is laid via an SMS or an email, or a website. Such phishing messages always contain links that the recipient is supposed to click on. Allegedly, the account is to be verified or certain third-party access has to be checked. These links should not be clicked on under any circumstances. Otherwise the recipient will end up on a fake website. Sensitive data is queried there. With the help of this stolen data, criminals manage to log into the online account of the person in question. Either orders are then placed in an online store at the person's expense or money is withdrawn directly. The possibilities for criminal acts are almost unlimited.

Recognizing a phishing website

Only a little practice is needed to recognize a typical phishing website. Basically, such a website looks very similar to the real one. Nevertheless, the following areas should be checked more closely:

· The URL of the web address
· Is there HTTPS encryption?
· How reputable are the links on the website?
· Can you recognize special characters, a different language or a conspicuous expression?
· Is there a data request for credit card number, bank details, address or name?

The various types of phishing

Meanwhile, there are different types of phishing. For example, phishing can take place in the following ways:

· Social media
· Phishing through clever voice guidance for later identity theft
· Websites phishing
· Email phishing

Phishing risks

The damage and consequences of phishing attacks can be enormous. In the worst case, a money transfer is even ordered by fraudsters who, for example, pretend to be managing directors. The damage can even amount to millions. The economic damage is just as high. Double-digit million amounts annually are not uncommon. However, malicious software can be on the smartphone or on the computer itself. This is how the devices are paralyzed remotely.

Responding correctly

Anyone who has fallen for a phishing attack should act immediately and report it to the police. In addition, the following actions should be taken:

- Block your account and credit card
- Contact the portal's customer service
- Change passwords on all online portals
- Go to the provider's real website in the browser and change the passwords there
- Save as much evidence as possible, such as with the help of photos or screenshots.