What Is Spoofing?

Spoofing happens when cybercriminals pretend to be someone else in order to gain your confidence.

 

They undertake this scam so they can steal your data, money, or install malware on your device.

What is a spoofing attack?

Spoofing attacks occur when hackers launch coordinated attacks to target a company or group of individuals. During an attack, hackers spy on secure lines of communications, something also called a replay attack. With a replay attack, a spoofer will intercept a message to misdirect the sender or receiver.

 

Spoofing and replay attacks often target important, confidential correspondence, such as when people transfer money or share valuable information.

 

How to detect spoofing

You may ask, how do I detect spoofing? The best way to detect spoofing is to learn about the different types of spoofing and how hackers carry out these attacks.

Types of spoofing

There are different types of spoofing, each with its own method and intended target.

 

Domain spoofing

Are companies aware about the spoofing of their domain? Sadly, most of them may not even know it is something to watch out for, let alone when it happens. Though the rate of domain spoofing appears to be dropping, there is no guarantee that domain spoofing attacks will completely stop.

 

So what happens when hackers are spoofing your domain? These criminals are simply creating emails and websites easily  mistaken for yours. When your customers are fooled into giving their information to these false online platforms, their identities and security are compromised.

 

Email spoofing

Email spoofing is the act of spying on a secure network and falsifying email addresses. The purpose of email spoofing is to trick the recipient of a message into revealing their valuable personal information.

 

Phishing is similar to email spoofing in the sense it also uses email to achieve the goals of the scammers behind the message. The main difference is how a spoofing email pretends to be from a legitimate company whereas phishing emails don’t necessarily try to impersonate a well-known brand or person.

 

Website spoofing

The goal of email spoofing is usually to lead someone to a spoofed website where cybercriminals trick victims into revealing their personal details.

 

Common signs of website spoofing include:

  • Spelling and grammatical errors on the website
  • Inferior graphics and design
  • Requests for private information, including Social Security number, credit card number, etc.
  • Different URL or web address compared to the one you normally use
  • No security seal or certification on the website

DNS spoofing

DNS refers to the Domain Name System, in other words, the website address. DNS server spoofing happens when a hacker spoofs the name of a legitimate website to gain access to people using its products and services.

 

Unfortunately, when people provide their private details such as financial information to the spoofed website, the criminals can keep and abuse this personal data.  

 

IP address spoofing

IP spoofing or IP address spoofing is the creation and modification of Internet Protocol (IP) packets so hackers can hide their identity from senders.

 

A subtype of IP spoofing includes DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks where there is a malicious attempt to disrupt the usual operations of a server. These instances of IP spoofing result in the targeted website slowing down as it cannot handle the unusual amount of traffic flooding in.

 

When you learn more about IP address spoofing, you can make the necessary adjustments to prevent it from happening to your system. And one of the ways you can do this is by subscribing to cybersecurity blogs to stay on top of the latest threats.

 

SMS number spoofing

SMS spoofing allows you to replace the sender number behind messages with an alphanumeric text. The targets of number spoofing for marketing purposes are usually the clients of a well-known company or brand.

 

Here’s an illustration of SMS spoofing: Your favorite clothing shop may send you a text message to let you know they’re having a sale! However, there’s more to SMS spoofing than meets the eye… or text, in this case. You may get a text from a scammer pretending to be a brand to get your private information.

 

Since there’s not a lot of awareness about SMS spoofing, it can be an effective way of hackers targeting us for their malicious means. Be wary of SMS spoofing, especially if the message is asking you for personal information or money. This is why it’s also called malicious number spoofing.

 

If you want to stay away from SMS spoofing, refrain from giving your number to untrusted sources. You can also fight against malicious number spoofing by checking your online accounts - and make sure your number isn’t publicly available online.

 

Caller ID spoofing

Caller ID spoofing happens when criminals cause telephone networks to show a call is coming from another number. The result? The number appearing is completely different, making caller ID spoofing dangerous. This is because the spoofing of caller ID hides the identity of callers, giving them the confidence to trick people over the phone.

 

In the US, there are rules about caller ID spoofing. It is illegal to do it under the Truth in Caller ID Act. This prohibits anyone from spoofing caller IDs to defraud or cause harm in people.

 

GPS spoofing and GNSS spoofing

Is Global Positioning System (GPS) spoofing real? Is it really possible to trick a system about your location? Well, yes it is probable, especially if there is a radio transmitter nearby capable of interfering with legitimate GPS signals.

 

No thanks to GPS spoofing, apps relying heavily on location data can be most affected. There is definitely a risk for GPS spoofing to be lethal, especially if it concerns boats and planes needing accurate GPS data to operate effectively.

 

This attack is connected to Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) spoofing, which also messes up the accurate time of systems. Though there are instances when the spoofing of GNSS signals are completely harmless (some use them to trick games like Pokemon Go!) there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about GNSS spoofing. For example, hackers and terrorists have been known to mess with the navigation of civilian vessels.

 

MAC spoofing

MAC spoofing doesn’t refer to the laptop, rather the spoofing of Media Access Control (MAC) or the identification numbers of devices.

 

Though there is a legitimate use of MAC spoofing in the context of privacy, it became quite controversial since criminals have been known to do this while carrying out illegal acts online.

 

ARP spoofing

To conduct MAC spoofing, Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) spoofing is required. ARP spoofing is the act of linking a MAC address with the IP address of another user.

 

Unfortunately, people cannot willingly opt out of ARP spoofing. When a hacker decides to link with your IP address, they can receive all your information.

How to avoid being a victim of spoofing

If you don’t want to be a victim of spoofing, here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Don’t give out your email to anyone outside your immediate social circle of trusted friends and family. Also, don’t post it on public forums or social media pages.
  • Be wary of connecting to public networks. This may expose details about your identity and your device.
  • Don’t answer calls or emails from people or organizations you don’t know, especially if they’re soliciting money.
  • Every time you receive an email from a legitimate company, carefully check the sender's email is the one usually behind their communications. If it’s a new address, call them up or contact them using their social media page to check if the email is legitimate.
  • When you receive an email with a link to a website, double check the website address. Sometimes, these spoofers change one letter or symbol in the website address to make their spoofed website look like the legitimate one.
  • Avoid visiting websites without security features. One way to know is if they use “https” instead of http” in the website address. Browsers like Google Chrome also warn you whenever you’re trying to enter an unsafe website.
  • If you’re part of a big company that can be targeted for spoofing, partner with a trusted cybersecurity firm that can secure the devices you use for work.
  • Always run a security scan on your devices to make sure you are protected from threats such as spoofing. Choose one that adjusts to your online habits and is tailored for your experiences and behaviors, like Clario!

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