Don’t let new tactics get you phished!

Don’t let new tactics get you phished!

Evolving and progressing in life goes hand in hand. One must always make efforts to progress so life doesn’t get stagnant. However, in recent years phishers seem to have taken this mantra way too seriously; as every year they tend to come up with new tactics to phish their victims. Just with the onset of the new decade, phishers came up with a new technique to swindle victims using the same old phishing technique but with a new twist to make it look more genuine and easy to trick.

What is the hype all about?

In the month of January this year, computer expert Terence Eden brought into the knowledge of people about a new trick that is being used by the phishers. Reportedly, the phishers sent a message to his wife masquerading themselves to be from EE asking for personal information using a different type of URL. Fortunately, Eden’s wife was not a user of EE; however, Eden did manage to notice a weird and new thing in the message. The message read:

As can be clearly seen in the URL above, the phishers have managed to use three elements to make it look genuine.

  1. The use of HTTPS://
  2. Using the real and official subdomain, that is and,
  3. The main element of the date, that is Jan 02

What is the cause of concern

The elements as stated above has caught all the attention and also the causes of concern.

  1. Use of HTTPS:// – One of the main concerns and reason to worry about is the throwaway prices at which the domain servers provide sub-domain these days. Anyone can easily get access to domain names of popular and established companies, making it difficult for non-tech savvy and people unaware of such attacks to become prey of one. These hoax websites manage to get the SSL certificates due to which the sign of lock is shown in the address bar; which makes the whole act look even more real.
  2. The was just a subdomain that was replicated and constructed by adding other information which is usually not added in phishing e-mails, making them look more genuine.
  3. The current date was added in the URL which is a new card played by the phisher. When a potential victim comes across such a message, they see “” which makes them believe that the link has been directed from the company itself.

How to protect yourself from such attacks?

One can find multiple alternatives to save oneself from phishing attacks like security awareness training, e-mail filters, etc. but to tackle this specific new type of phishing using DMARC protocol has to be your best bet.

DMARC is an abbreviation for domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance. This is a protocol that further uses a combination of two frameworks namely, sender policy framework (SPF) and DomainKeys identified mail (DKIM) to authenticate the legitimacy of a website. When the SPF and DKIM fail in proving the authenticity of an e-mail, only then the DMARC protocol works towards protecting the user.

When a DMARC policy is properly configured, it helps the user in deciding whether or not to accept or reject an e-mail from a particular sender. When you use a DMARC for protecting your brand or your individual information, it saves you from receiving messages from unauthorized senders.

DMARC not only protects you from receiving e-mails from phishers but its reports also provide you with information on people who are sending e-mails to other people using the name or domain of your company.

Finally, DMARC does more than just identifying and analyzing e-mails and bogus websites. It also helps in creating a community which helps in establishing a policy that authenticates the messages in circulation. When this happens the overall email environment becomes a safe and secure one.

According to research, more than 70% of e-mails around the globe are fake, 30% of these phishing emails are opened by victims, 9 out of 10 emails have some form of ransomware in it and steady growth of over 4,00,000 phishing sites from the year 2016 has been observed. If these figures were enough to spook you, there is more to it. Therefore before you become one of the victims of such attacks, get your DMARC program installed today.

To sum up final thoughts

The beginning of the new decade has brought with itself some new risks as well. Phishers are trying their best to stay one step ahead and trick people into traps. However, as an aware netizen, you must try not to fall in such a trap and be alert with the link and websites you are visiting. Keeping track of all the new tricks used by phishers and the precautions available to protect oneself will help you in the long run.

TIKAJ’s Anti-phishing service will help secure your intangible treasure.


How to discern Santa disguised phishers this holiday?

Holiday season is around which means the season of sending and receiving gifts and pleasantries is here as well. According to a report, a whopping $143 billion is spent by customers just between Thanksgiving and New Year. This stands as a very happy figure for the phishers and scammers to rake in through the bank accounts of the customers.

You must have noticed a flooded inbox filled with e-mails and text messages luring to indulge in those vouchers from your favorite shopping mall or discount coupons from your go-to food joint. Free giveaways, life-changing lotteries you never enrolled for or charity messages shouldn’t fool you to fall prey to greedy phishers waiting to make quick bucks this holiday season.

If you receive e-mails, message or even calls which makes offers too good be true, its time you double or triple check, before you give in to them. These messages could have malware which once clicked could empty your bank account even before you realize it, pouring cold water on your happiness and warmth this holiday season.

Holiday phishing like every season is on a rise this year too. Save yourself and your loved ones with this informative article which gives you insights regarding every important detail you need to know about holiday phishing.


Phishers as their occupation asks for, are very clever. One can take phishing emails examples or messages which are sent by them look that very genuine and appealing. However, to save yourself from these traps, we have mentioned a few important points which will help you in identifying them.

  • Hoax shipping notifications:
    With holiday season around, the number of orders placed online increases. Phishers take advantage of this situation and send emails or messages quoting a fake order number and other details being shipped to you. One must not fall for such messages even under curiosity; they should inquire with the retailer or track the order online through their registered account.
  • Fake charities:
    As the irony serves, the gratuitous nature of phishers erupts as well during the holiday season. They may text or email you, claiming to be a charity and asking for donations. Make sure you check the legitimacy of the charity house and make sure it exists and works for the same cause as for which you are making donations.
  • Long-lost friend:
    Phishers knows when the iron is hot so they can hit the rod. The holiday season is one time of the year when all the friends get back in touch. Phishers can easily get access to your contact or friend’s list and send you emails personating to be someone you know. Before replying to the message you must double-check whether the person who claims to be the person you know is the same; also warn your friend if you think their contact list may have got compromised.
  • Social media “the new pool of phishers” :
    With a large number of traffic being active on social media, criminal intentions are bound to get followed. While surfing social media make sure you check the links you click as the phishers may use URL shorteners to lead you to sites which will install malware on your device and then get easy access to all the data. To save yourself from such compromising situations make sure you check links for typo errors or repeated letters to identify imposter website.


Phishers have come forward with different ways to trap people and loot them this holiday season like every year. Below are mentioned a few phishing attack types.

  1. Fake apps and websites

    The time between thanksgivings to New Year is that one time where people indulge of all ages enjoys shopping. With the advancement of technology, people have started to rely more on online sources to buy presents; which turns out to be a treat for phishers. When the victim gets attracted to really exciting offers and decides to purchase things from non-verified apps or websites, they fall into the trap of phishers. In this type of phishing scheme, the victim first receives an email which directs them to fill their payment details and other banking credentials after which the phishers drains out all the money off the victim’s account.

  2. Skimmers of credit cards

    A skimmer of credit card is a small malicious device which criminals use by attaching it to a payment terminal like one at the gas station, ATM or similar kiosk. When a customer uses such a compromised terminal, the skimmer can create a copy of the debit or credit card and also capture the PIN number. To protect yourself from falling into such a situation one must first look at terminal and see if anything is out of its place, try jiggling the card reader and if it moves around then there could be something wrong. Other than these measures one must try bot save card’s information on retail sites, enable purchase alerts on all the cards and disable any international purchase.

  3. Juice jacking

    Holidays calls for parties especially with huge public gatherings and late night outings. Using public chargers and USBs is very common when the battery of phones get drained out. This is when the term juice jacking comes into play. When you put your phone for charging process, the USB or power cable get illegitimate access to your phone and malicious code may get injected onto your phone making all your private and sensitive information vulnerable in the hands of the person with ill-intentions. In simple words, juice jacking leads to an invasion of your privacy on the use of infected USB cable or injecting malicious code directly into your phone, whose damage could be irreversible in many cases.


The holiday season is a time of merrymaking both for normal people and phishers. It is a prime crime time for holiday phishers who trap people by sending them infected emails, messages and tricking them into purchasing things from hoax websites. To make this time of the year merrier for yourself and your loved ones, be aware and spread awareness about such phishers, different phishing attack types by giving them phishing emails examples and such other messages and by asking them to stay more careful while surfing the internet this season.


Emotet malware being presented to people this Christmas, through Greta Thunberg themed Phishing emails

A global spam email scheme has been discovered which is using Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg themed emails to lure users.

Spam consists of a single message that attempts to deliver the well-known malware Emotet

Emotet was discovered back in 2014 as a banking Trojan aimed at stealing financial data. It has now  gone through several iterations and has emerged as one of the most destructive malware aimed at the financial domain.

A recent research discovered this widespread campaign using Greta Thunberg’s name to lure users into downloading Emotet malware.

The email consists of the subject line “Support Greta Thunberg” which invites the recipient to join the protest against the government raising concern against the threat of climate change.

Details regarding the fake protest are included in a file attached to the email. When opened, the file will install Emotet malware onto the recipient’s device.

Image showing an example how the phishing email may look like
Image showing an example how the phishing email may look like

Users should be able to view the malware file in the outdated .doc format for Microsoft Word. The email itself contains multiple spelling and grammatical errors, something anyone would not anticipate from the newly crowned Time Person of the Year 2019.

This campaign is targeting people around the globe with the most targeted victims in Japan, Germany, Italy, UAE, Australia, and the UK. Recipients are also told to forward and promote the malicious email to their good wishers, meaning the campaign has rapidly spread across the world.

This malicious campaign suggests that attackers don’t hesitate to use the face of even famous entities with good intentions. They tend to exploit the factor of public awareness and interest cleverly.

Better to be prepared for such attacks before hand. Train your organizations, friends, family because humans are the last line of defence after a phish bypasses the other technologies. Checkout our Phishing simulation and training solution PhishGrid.

To know more about How to identify a phishing email, read some useful insight here.

How to save yourself from falling into the “phishing trap”?


India is progressing fast towards digitization and a cashless economy. Every person now owns a smartphone and is equipped with an internet connection. More and more people are indulging in online transactions and youngsters are hooked to online apps. There is a surge in the growth of e-commerce websites. They are catering to all our needs from food to clothing. It would not be wrong to say that a whole new digital infrastructure has been set up. The whole ‘technology’ thing has become an inseparable part of our lives. While we all are too busy in ushering to the benefits of the technology, we have overlooked its potential threats. Yes, with the increase in the use of technology, the risk of cyber fraud has also gone up. We all are exposed to cyber fraud-related risks like never before. While there is a range of cyber threats, phishing has come out to be one of the most devious threats.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “Phishing” as: “The fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers online”. It is basically tricking people to reveal sensitive information about them over the internet. A typical phishing attack involves the following stages:

  • It starts by sending a large number of spoofed emails to random internet users.
  • The mails seem to be from a legitimate source urges users to perform some action.
  • As the users click on the link provided in the email, they are directed to a clone website created by the phishing attackers.
  • Now, the users are tricked to reveal sensitive information about them. This information can easily be accessed by the attacker to be exploited in the future.

There has been a steady increase in Phishing scams all over the world. The situation is no different in India. The trend of going digital has made it quite attractive to phishers. It ranks among the top five nations targeted by phishing. Not just a favorite of phishing attackers, but India is also a top phishing hosting country as well. A recent report of an IT security firm Sophos says that every one in two organizations in India has been hit by phishing emails. This speaks volumes of the growing threat of phishing into our digital infrastructure.

Financial institutions are always the main targets of phishers in India. Incidents of phishing attempts have been reported from ICICI Bank, UTI Bank, HDFC Bank and State Bank of India. The modus operandi of attack was similar in all these cases. The customer received legitimate seeming emails with fraudulent links which tricked them to divulge important information. This information was later used for various illegal transactions. Air India, the only government-owned airline of India also became a prey to a sophisticated phishing scam in 2017. The attack was carried out by Nigerian hackers and Air India lost $ 300,000 to them. These are examples of some major incidents. However, there are several small incidents of phishing that take place every day around the various parts of the country. From top officials to common people, no one has been spared from the phishing attackers. This also speaks about the lack of awareness of cybersecurity in India. People are neither aware of the possible cyber threats, nor do they know about the policies and procedures to be followed in case of a possible attack. However, it would be incorrect to say that only a lack of awareness is responsible for the growing phishing scams in India.  The people who are aware of phishing are also being attacked by means of advanced phishing techniques like URL obfuscation. 

Thus, we can see how phishing is a major concern in the contemporary digital environment of India. The major reason behind all the phishing scams is the lack of awareness among the users, who are relatively new to the internet realm. Measures should be taken to spread awareness and educate customers about the menace of phishing and use of anti-phishing techniques. They must be taught to stay vigilant and should avoid following any links blindly. Secondly, the businesses that are continuously onto the radar of phishing attackers, need to actively research and adopt the best security protocols and procedures of the industry. They should continuously strive to find the security gaps in their system and how to bridge them because it is better to stay safe than be sorry.


To conclude, customers and organizations need to stay aware and equip themselves with the latest technology in anti-phishing techniques. Proper monitoring, analysis, detection, and a little proactiveness can go a long way in safeguarding against phishing scams.

To know more about Phishing & Anti Phishing services & Anti Phishing solutions reach out to us.

Don’t let new tactics get you phished!

Online fraud : Darker side of online payment services

Shopping has never been so much fun until online services invaded our lives. Of course, shopping seems so easy and convenient when we can do it online from anywhere, anytime. Moreover, the generation today is so dynamically growing that they demand comfort at every step of their lives, and so, online shopping services have been the best means to shop saving a lot of time and effort. Rendering online services is certainly a great way to deal with a number of things. Moreover, it simplifies a number of tasks in day to day life. You needn’t run out from place to place searching for the right goods or services, which you can simply look for online while sitting comfortably at your home. But have you ever wondered there might be certain corners of these online services which you aren’t aware of? They might seem to be convenient and highly efficient but are you sure that each site you visit follows a safe and secure payment procedure? Of course not. These days, there is a pool of online marketers who initially look forward to benefiting themselves by pulling you in fake deals or trapping their customers into unethical payment procedures. This is where the concern centers in. Let’s get into this matter to know more about its consequences.

Certainly, many of those individuals who prefer shopping online or rendering any online service uses online payment facilities to make their payments smoother. Many of the sites available today offer a highly secure payment gateway. Did you know how phishing scammers target these online payment securities to break into your privacy or to steal your sensitive information? Moreover, such scammers, these days target the online payment facilitators as their best means to benefit their unethical needs. Online payments scam is a bitter reality of the internet age we live in today and the rates are only set to increase with the increased digital adoption in India. An ACI Worldwide conducted 2016 consumers study places India at the fifth position regarding the bank card fraud rates standing behind Mexico, Brazil, United States and Australia. This is how such frauds are gradually rising with the increasing use of online payment facilities as the phishing scammers target them to fetch out the utmost benefits unethically.

As they say, the foremost weapon against any problem is education and awareness. So, it’s important to understand the payment frauds and online fraud prevention that take place and their consequences. The most common types of online fraud occur via phishing, data theft and chargeback or friendly fraud. When we come across phishing, it is the process of accessing one’s personal information through fraudulent e-mails or websites that claim to be legitimate. The information gathered this way can include usernames, passwords, credit card number or bank account numbers. The most commonly used method for phishing is to redirect an online user through an email or SMS to an official website where they are asked to update their personal information. You are thereby tricked into revealing personal information that you would ideally not reveal to anyone else. Phishing can also occur via other electronic means such as SMS, instant messaging and on email. You can be redirected to make a payment on a website that looks legitimate, but initially is created with an aim to capture your card details so that they can be used later. According to this reports, India is the third-most targeted country for phishing scams. This is how gradually the online payment facilities are turning out to be the ultimate target of phishing scammers benefiting themselves by scamming online shoppers through fraudulent payment techniques or capturing the operating payment gateways and linking them unethically to their own payment gateways to commit fraud.

With the rising number of e-commerce users and online transactions, it is important that we are all aware of the mandatory security protocols for e-commerce websites so that we can avoid fraudulent situations. Data security on an online payment system begins the moment a user visits the site. The TLS Certificate indicates the users that the data transmitted between the web server and their browser is safe or not. An easy way to check if the e-commerce websites you frequently visit are SSL certified is to look at the URL and see if it uses ‘Http://’ or ‘https://’ protocols. The additional‘s’ signifies a secure e-payment system. You can also look for the padlock icon at the beginning of the URL. The modern web browsers are now following the opposite paradigm to make their web surfing safe by marking HTTP sites as “insecure”. The PCI Security Standards Council is a worldwide organization that promotes systematic rules for managing cardholder’s confidential data for all e-commerce websites and online payment gateways. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) is in effect with a set of policies that govern how cardholder’s sensitive data should be handled and it also promotes online fraud prevention. For an e-commerce website or an online payment system to be PCI-DSS compliant, they have to follow certain directives such as maintaining a secure network to process transactions, ensuring all data is encrypted during transmission, keeping the infrastructure secure, restricting information access and so on. Also, credit card tokenization helps e-commerce websites improve security, as it eliminates the need for storing credit card data and reduces security breaches. Apart from these crucial protocols, most of the e-commerce websites and payment gateways have their own fraud and risk prevention systems assisting you in securing your transactions.


Obviously, online payment facilitators have eased a lot of tasks in life, though it’s necessary to sustain a secure gateway to enjoy the ultimate security benefits of such online transactions. It’s good for a customer to execute an online payment saving a lot of time and efforts along with enjoying other online benefits, though one needs to be aware of these suspicious corners of online payments to secure their transactions and prevent falling in traps of scamming online.

To know more about Online frauds, Phishing. TIKAJ provides great Anti Phishing services & Anti Phishing solutions.


Phishing: Watch out for phishers | Salvage from misadventure

Phishing has increasingly become a pervasive problem within the digital world. It can be defined as an act of forging a website or sending fraudulent emails/ text messages in order to get private data from the victims, such as login credentials of accounts, bank account details, etc. This can be done in several ways such as spear phishing, link manipulation, filter evasion, whaling. etc.

The fraudulent party often pretends to be a trusted source such as an auction site, payment gateway portals, social media websites, etc. In many cases, they have been seen to send luring communication which entraps the users. This is a highly vexing issue that is required to be tackled. The most important point of concern during a phishing attack is that action needs to be taken almost immediately when the attack is detected in order to minimize the damage.

Fraudsters often purchase registers or registrar domain name which appears very similar to the original website. Then they post similar but deceitful content on that website and attempt to attract users to that domain by sending out fake emails or text alerts.

What is also very important for the afflicted party is that for the fraudulent website or portal to be taken down immediately and for the criminal to be caught. The latter part is a rather difficult feat because it often becomes nearly impossible to track down the criminal. However, it is absolutely possible to take down the fraudulent website. Just about any online website or portal is vulnerable to a phishing attack. Hence, it is very essential to remain prepared. Domain monitoring is essentially a very effective web solution which helps to prevent such attacks or detect them in the early stages.

Once such a suspicious domain is detected, a business needs to initiate action immediately. The goal should be to take down the fraudulent website so the afflicted business will not get affected furthermore. However, there are many important things that need to be kept in mind when one has encountered this problem. First and foremost, the laws of that particular country should be considered. The legal aspects pertaining to internet services differ from one country to another. For example, in some countries, there are strict legal procedures that are needed to be followed in ordered to peruse and go through with the takedown. For some other countries, the laws may be slightly laxed.

The next step during this problem would be to get in touch with concerned authorities who would be able to provide requisite help in this matter. It is important to collaborate with internet service providers immediately. Most of them have laws or standard procedures regarding such extreme situations and they would be able to guide you. They can provide you with effective web solutions and act very responsibly if the fraud has happened with their services and clients. Then, it is also important to collaborate with IT professionals and Cyber Security members in the organization to come up with a contingency plan.

However, the registrar domain name can be taken down only through the registrar who has created the domain. This is the source from whom the domain was bought. Hence, one of the key steps in the process would be to get in touch with the registrar. You should immediately draft an email to the registrar’s abuse and help the team. In the email, the afflicted business should elaborate on the problem and file a detailed complaint. They are meant to respond during their working hours. And there are a few registrars who have been accredited by ICANN who will have to respond to your complaints as they are bound by law. Yet in some unfortunate situations, the registrar is the fraud and therefore becomes unresponsive even on contact. The situation might seem bleak at this, but there is still another way! There are a few parties which can help you to take down the website such as CSIRTS or CERTs. 

If all the aforementioned procedures are carried out in time, the fraudulent venture can be stopped with almost immediate action and with minimal damage. The collaboration between several different helpful parties can do the major trick and help you get through this issue. Yet, there is always a loophole with this, that the criminal may not get caught too easily even if the website is taken down. He/she might become aware of the fact that someone is at their tail and they may stop this particular venture and embark upon another one.


Hence, the most important thing is to protect your business against such attacks. Monitoring and detection for phishing should be a part of the information security sector of a business or an organization. What you can also opt for is hire a consulting agency who can perform these services for you and keep you protected! As it is commonly said, prevention is always better than cure.

TIKAJ offers amazing Anti-Phishing services.


DMARC Alignment – All You Need To Know

DMARC attempts to check that the address in the header ‘From’ is the real message origin or not. DKIM and SPF do not include the From header and Username.

Alignment ensures that when using a relaxed configuration, all domains will align perfectly.

Difference between Header from Domain and Mail from Domain

Header from DomainMail from Domain
The domain portion of the email address that is most frequently available to end-users in an email recipient’s “From” area.The SPF authorization method is using this code. It is the domain part of the email address commonly found in the message header “Return-Path.” This is also commonly known as the location of the rebound.

SPF Alignment

SPF alignment for DMARC: Alignment of the sender policy framework (SPF) ensures that the domains of your email match.

  • Mail-Address (MFrom)
  • From the url of the header

There are two types of SPF alignment

Relaxed alignment: For relaxed alignment, only the MFrom address’s root domain will suit the Header From address’s root domain. Relaxed alignment helps to use a sub-domain and still meet the criteria of domain alignment.

Strict alignment: The scope of the MFrom address with strict alignment is an exact match for the address of the Header From domain.

DKIM Alignment

DKIM alignment for DMARC: DKIM matching is when the DKIM signature domain parent of your email meets the domain Header From.

There are two types of DKIM alignment

Relaxed alignment: That method of alignment allows the domain of the DKIM to suit the domain of the parent header. Relaxed alignment helps to use a sub-domain and still meet the criteria for domain alignment.

Strict alignment- That method of alignment includes an exact match of the DKIM domain to the Header “From” domain.

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Difference between Phishing and Pharming

Phishing and pharming have the same aims, namely to harvest sensitive data from people. Phishing, though, tries to deceive people into doing this, while pharming uses ransomware and DNS poisoning to funnel citizens to malicious websites.

Types of Phishing

  • Vishing
  • Whaling
  • Spear Phishing
  • Clone Phishing

Types of Pharming

  • Hosts file Pharming
  • Poisoned DNS servers

Difference Between phishing and pharming

Phishing is meant to capture people’s personal and financial information. Cybercriminals rely on trickery and manipulation to get users to inadvertently expose the details they like, or to force them to obey malicious links or submit malware-infected attachments. Pharming attempts to achieve the same purpose as phishing, but it does not try to deceive online users into disclosing information or visiting a malicious website. Instead, it redirects users to malicious websites automatically, even if the right IP address or domain name is entered in the address bar.
If you are patient, using script blockers, robust antivirus / antimalware applications, and anti-phishing plugins, phishing will usually be stopped. Online users can not stop pharming if the DNS servers of their ISPs become affected.


Both are a serious threat to the internet and cybersecurity in the phishing vs. pharming article. While the software has been developed and new techniques are being introduced to eliminate such crimes, when using the internet in any form, people need to be aware, alert and attentive.