Online impersonation has become a prevalent fraudulent activity in today’s fast-paced world where cybercriminals use fake identities to lure vulnerable people into revealing their sensitive information or sending money. Impersonation attacks cause loss of billions of dollars each year emphasizing the need to establish effective impersonation attack prevention measures. 

Online Impersonation Attacks – A Brief Overview 

In the online world where reliance on online platforms has substantially surged, it is effortless to access services and privileges, however, it also presents potential threats to the integrity of personal information. Impersonation attack, a rising threat in today’s digital world, where reliance on online platforms has substantially surged, is a deceptive tactic where malicious actors contact vulnerable people into revealing their sensitive information. 

Online impersonation attacks where cybercriminals with unethical intentions contact people via texts, emails, or calls and pretend to be contacting legitimate entities like banks or official government bodies. The people believing that they are being contacted by authentic entities end up sharing their personal information. The acquired information is leveraged to carry out fraudulent activities like generating new accounts, conducting financial transactions, or spreading false information.  

Examples of Online Impersonation Attacks 

Impersonation attacks are taking a sharp turn with the rise in technology, where fraudsters employ nefarious ways to fulfill their malicious intentions. Impersonation attacks not only cause financial losses but also disturb the psychological well-being of the victims. 

  • Email impersonation: It refers to a type of online impersonation where cybercriminals send unsolicited emails to the targeted individuals. The emails ask for sensitive information falsely pretending to be from legitimate bodies or often contain malicious links that direct the individuals to malicious websites. The victims unaware of the circumstances believe in what they see and share their sensitive information, which imposes far-reaching consequences on the psycho-social well-being of the individuals. 
  • CEO Fraud: Also referred to as ‘whaling’, CEO fraud is the widespread online impersonation attack where imposters pretend to be the CEO or higher executive of the company and trap employees. The employees unknowingly believe that they are being contacted by the CEO and conduct potential transactions or share the company’s sensitive information.
  • Deepfake Impersonation: Deepfake technology is being widely exploited by imposters where others’ identities are stolen to deceive vulnerable individuals. Deepfake impersonation refers to a deceptive tactic where cybercriminals disguise the identity of others to trap unsuspecting people into sharing sensitive information and conducting large transactions. 

Essential Impersonation Attacks Preventive Measures 

To fight against the prevailing types of online impersonation, it’s crucial to stay alert about the latest trends in online impersonation and limit the sharing of personal information. 

  1. Confirm the legitimacy of Emails 

Don’t immediately believe what you see. Always cross-check the legitimacy of the source asking for personal information or conducting wire transfers to ensure that you are being contacted by authentic entities. Studies suggest that only 51% of individuals confirm the legitimacy of the source asking for personal information, highlighting how effortless it is for cybercriminals to trap unsuspecting people.

  1. Limit Sharing Sensitive Information 

As the threats of online impersonation attacks are potentially increasing with each passing day and badly impacting the victims, it’s crucial to not share your details with unknown individuals. our personal information is your identity, others may exploit it for malicious purposes. It’s paramount than ever before to ensure that legitimate entities are contacting you and double-check the authenticity of the source asking for personal information. 

  1. Use Custom Email Domain 

Custom email domains are considered an effective impersonation attack prevention strategy as they refer to using a brand or company’s name instead of generic emails. It assists both users and businesses in accurately recognizing authentic emails. As it’s hard to spoof or replicate email addresses generated in the name of organizations, therefore the chances of email impersonation are drastically reduced. 

  1. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication 

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security to digital accounts requiring users to provide two or more identification points to ensure the authenticity of the users. Unlike passwords which are easy to spoof, it’s arduous to hack MFA and attain unauthorized access to the systems. MFA enhances the security of online information and prevents imposters from entering into the organizational systems. 

  1. Training & Awareness Programs

Organizations must establish training and awareness programs for their employees to give them an understanding of the latest types of online impersonation attacks. These programs must include agenda briefing employees to cross-verify the legitimacy of URLs before opening, verify unsolicited requests, and confirm that emails requiring large transactions are coming from authentic executives. 

Last Word 

The distressing consequences posed by online impersonation attacks emphasize online users to be cautious while opening links sent from unknown entities and confirm the authenticity of the source before sharing information. Businesses must develop effective awareness and training programs for employees, use secure communication channels, and implement robust biometric authentication technology to ward off fake identities attempting to scam people. 

Posted by Raul Harman

Editor in chief at Technivorz and business consultant. I like sharing everything that deals with #productivity #startups #business #tech #seo and #marketing