What is clone phishing?

The first step towards preventing clone phishing is to know what is clone phishing. Clone phishing imitates alert emails from reputable companies to trick consumers into disclosing private information like usernames and passwords. Be wary of common clone phishing scam components, including time-limited offers and messages that purport to be updated. Do you have documentation of your initial exchange with the sender? If not, the mail may include harmful attachments and links.

Users who frequently use online services like banking or shop at online stores like Amazon are the targets of this phishing attack. Be aware of what branded emails from online merchants you frequently deal with look like.

What is Clone Phishing?

Phishing is to blame for almost 90% of security breaches in businesses. Most of us know that there is a scam going on when we receive spam emails telling us we have won a sizable amount of money. Clone phishing is one of the more complex scam emails, making it much easier to be taken advantage of.

Clone phishing is a sort of scam in which the offender copies the emails of an established, genuine company. Due to their excellent duplication skills, some clones can dupe even those with the keenest eyes. You might even receive a clone phishing email shortly after receiving an official email from a reputable firm because they are designed to look exactly like the official emails the targeted company often sends.

Clone Phishing Vs. Spear Phishing

Clone phishing, as opposed to traditional phishing scams, replaces safe links and attachments from a copied email with malware and phony domains to steal your login information.

Clone phishing scams use branded communications that are distributed to a large number of recipients. Your registered account name might not identify you in these emails but as a “user.”

However, spear phishing attacks send specific messages to one person or group. A spear phishing scam may use the following special information:

  • Speaking to you directly
  • Using a coworker’s name
  • Mentioning a new payment
  • Writing in a conversational style
  • Mentioning the name of your company

A DMARC policy of p=reject created using a DMARC record generator tool and published on your DNS is effective against spear phishing attacks if it initiated via emails sent from your domain. 

Both spear phishing and clone phishing can be challenging to recognize. Understanding how these frauds work helps improve your cybersecurity.

What Does Clone Phishing Look Like?

  • Sent from a phony email address that purports to be the actual sender
  • The email’s attachment or link is changed to a malicious version.
  • It might claim that it is an updated version or a resend of the original.

What Characterizes a Clone Phishing Attack?

The primary feature of a copy phishing attack is copying or cloning an authentic email and re-engineering it to steal sensitive information from the target. The email is crafted from a trustworthy source, but the cybercriminal uses the trusted identity to trick the victim into providing information.

Clone phishing emails frequently take the form of a response to an earlier genuine email exchange that the victim was a part of. They may believe the message is coming from a legitimate source while, in reality, it was delivered by a cybercriminal.

Clone Phishing Examples

Clone phishing uses all possible ways of social engineering to attack. The pretext clone phishing examples include:

  • Clicking a link to get a new software update without delay
  • Visiting a website by clicking a link to claim a “gift” or “prize.”
  • The private email addresses of your employees may also be a target for cybercriminals. Users may be less wary of clone phishing assaults in their inboxes than they are in business email accounts, which makes it.
  • Simpler for hackers to take advantage of access control flaws.
  • Replying to an email from “IT support” using confidential login information.

For instance, if a user just made an online purchase, a carefully crafted phishing email from that store may appear authentic and be opened on a work computer.

How To Prevent Cloning Phishing Attacks

Cloned email addresses can be prevented in a few ways.

Security Awareness Training

It is important to be aware of cloning to prevent it. All employees should receive security awareness training as part of their cyber security strategy. It is important to keep employees informed about the risks associated with cloned emails and to encourage them to report any suspicious emails as soon as possible.

Ensure Link Authenticity

An easy way for people to get caught by cloned email messages is by clicking on links within them without checking their authenticity first. Before clicking on any link within an email message, check whether it has been sent from a legitimate source and check its URL. If you have doubts whether the email has come from an authentic source, do not click on any links within it; instead, forward it to your IT department for further investigation.

Scan Attachments For Malicious Codes and Viruses

If the sender’s address is fake, then any attachments sent with the email will also be fake. So, scan those attachments for malware, viruses, or anything else that might harm your computer or mobile device. If the attachments are safe, open them and click on any links within them.

Check The Validity Of The Sender’s Address

You can check whether an address is valid by typing it into a search engine such as Google or Yahoo Mail. You should see if there are any results for that particular email address, indicating whether it is real or not. If you don’t find any results for that email address when searching online, it could mean that it’s not real (which means you can ignore the message). Or it could mean someone has been using this person’s name without their permission (which means you should still be wary).

Use Spam Filters

Spam filters can help you prevent cloned emails from reaching your inbox in the first place. If someone has been sending out spam emails using your name, then setting up a spam filter will prevent these messages from reaching your inbox in the future.

Final Words

Clone phishing scams are, unfortunately, one of the easiest types of scams to duplicate. Because they take advantage of an existing brand rather than creating a new one, they are usually more convincing as well. That said, there are several steps you can take to help protect yourself from clone phishing scams.

For legitimate security against phishing attacks perpetrated via emails sent from your own domain, deploy a DMARC analyzer at your organization today!

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