Fishing is a leisure activity for loads of people. You take a rod, reel, hook, and bait, and you set up shop near a river, the sea, or in the wide open ocean. Phishing, on the other hand, is a leisure activity for hackers. They take an email, SMS, an ad and set up shop inside your inbox or on the world wide web.
Just like a fish gets lured with bait, you could be fooled by a headline saying you’ve won a million dollars, your credit card company needs you to reset the password, or your boss asking you to download an attachment on your computer.
It’s easy, simple, and if it doesn’t work on you, it will work on somebody else. The problem with phishing is that it’s everywhere because hackers will use every way possible to target you. All it takes is for you to make one mistake; your finances, social media accounts, and sensitive data could go down the drain.
Why do hackers target gamers?
Even though phishing scams target everyone at all times, they are often aimed at specific groups. The most popular one is seniors because they’re not proficient in technology. Knowing whether a site has an SSL certificate or whether the email they received was actually from their granddaughter is a thin line, and they often don’t think twice when sharing something online.
The next target group is, of course, kids. They still haven’t learned how to maneuver the internet but know how to play games. Children often look for videos or use search engines to find the next hack, get free skin, or download a game their parents don’t want to buy.
Kids often don’t pay any attention to security, antiviruses, and firewalls. They unlock their devices to add an extension that lets them have a Fortnite skin as their favorite cartoon character.
By adding a piece of malware to a seemingly innocent download, hackers can take control of a phone, tablet, or laptop, and that’s when the real harm begins. They can enter all the devices connected to the network and steal parents’ personal data, credit card information, and even corporate secrets.
A gaming VPN combined with antivirus is the best shield to protect your devices. These tools can be installed on multiple devices and protect you from almost all the tricks on a hacker’s sleeve.
How to protect ourselves?
Step one, when it comes to protecting yourself from a phishing attack, is knowing what it looks like. There are many examples online of successful scams that have stolen millions of dollars because they resemble real people and situations.
We all love to overestimate our eye for spotting a fake email, but there are billions of people, and all it takes is for the scam to work once. Here are some of the biggest red lights to pay attention to when spotting a phishing cyber attack.
If you’re a gamer and need to download an executable file from a website that’s not from the Steam Store, Epic Games, or the official website of the game, don’t open the links. It’s not worth it. Anything that contains scrambled letters in the URL is a no-go zone.
The same is true when receiving an email that says you’ve won a free skin or a bunch of in-game tokens. If you hover over the link and it’s a page similar to the official one but with a typo, never click on it. Hackers are great at making mirrors of official websites unrecognizable. Triple-check before you insert any sensitive data.
Things that sound too good to be true
Most of us wish that a million dollars would fall from the sky in our bedroom and we could become rich. But that’s just a fantasy. When you see your fantasy in your email inbox, it’s a scam. If some lawyer from a different state texts you that your long-lost relative has left a large inheritance and you’re the only link, don’t believe it.
If you’ve won free airline tickets but need to enter your credit card details to claim them, it’s definitely a scam. Anything that sounds too good to be true should go directly into your deleted folder.
Bad grammar and spelling
With tools like ChatGPT, scammers are improving by leaps and bounds. They can now use it to write personalized copy and even campaigns to target an individual.
But, some still make errors when messaging you, or they use Google Translate to send it in a different language. Some phishing scammers are not that thoughtful, and they’re trying their chances to see if somebody gets lured into the bait. Don’t let that be you!