The Internet is a beautiful place where we like to hang out, but things like phishing do create quite a blemish on the experience. Unfortunately this is something we all have to deal with. So you have to be careful, especially when you receive an email from a number of specific companies.
Do you ever get mail from Amazon or DHL? Usually it’s okay, but stay alert. In fact, research (.pdf) shows that attackers using phishing pick Amazon as the sender in 17.7 percent of cases. DHL comes up in 16.5 percent of cases and 12.7 percent cite DocuSign.
In fourth place is PayPal, with a share of 5.7 percent. In all cases the senders of the mail pretend to be another company. In this way they try to extract personal information from you. If you click on a link and fill in data on a specially set up page, they are on to you. That is phishing.
The reason malicious people choose to impersonate large or well-known companies with phishing is very simple. These are mostly companies you know, and there’s a good chance you’ve already received emails from them. The names inspire trust, making you more likely to share personal information when they ask for it.
What can you do about this?
As a recipient of such phishing emails, there is little you can do about it. The emails will come in anyway. You can open them and study them, but if in any doubt, it is better that you don’t click on anything. Do you think Amazon or DHL is trying to get to you anyway? Then contact customer service by going to the company’s website yourself. Again: do not click on any links.
It does get harder and harder for consumers. Cybercriminals are able to use email addresses that look correct. Other companies that are often used in phishing include Microsoft and O2. But Facebook is also often used.