Cyber criminals use a myriad of techniques to carry out their digital attacks against unsuspecting victims. While you’re probably familiar with malware, including viruses and ransomware, a lesser-known cyber threat is spoofing. What is spoofing exactly, and how does it work? For a breakdown of this prevalent cyber threat, keep reading.

Overview of Spoofing

Spoofing is a cyber threat in which a hacker disguising him or herself as an authorized user for the purpose of stealing data, distributing malware or conducting other forms of illicit cyber activities.

Email spoofing, for instance, involves the use of a forged sender address and name. A “spoofed” email may appear to come from John Doe. It may, in fact, have a from name consisting of John Doe’s corporate email address. If the email is spoofed, however, all of this information could be incorrect. Hackers can spoof emails to change their sender names so that they look legitimate.

Types of Spoofing

In all instances of spoofing, a hacker — or some other nefarious individual — pretends to be someone else. With that said, there are many different types of spoofing, each of which is unique in its own way.

Some of the most common types of spoofing include the following:

  • Email spoofing
  • Internet Protocol (IP) address spoofing
  • Media Access Control (MAC) address spoofing
  • Website referrer spoofing
  • Geolocation spoofing
  • Caller ID spoofing
  • Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks

Should You Be Concerned About Spoofing?

Assuming you use the internet to transmit or store sensitive information, you should absolutely be concerned about spoofing. Spoofing attacks often go unnoticed because of the way in which they work. They are designed to disguise the hacker who’s behind the attack, which in turn prevents victims from identifying the attack.

Of course, some types of spoofing are more concerning than others. MITM attacks are a disturbing form of spoofing. They involve tapping into the connection between a victim’s device and the internet, at which point the hacker can steal the victim’s data. With spoofing-related MITM attacks, the hacker disguises him or herself as either the victim or the website that the victim is trying to access.

In Conclusion

Spoofing is a cyber threat that involves a hacker disguising him or herself as an authorized and legitimate user. It’s typically used to distribute malware or steal data. Regardless, you can prevent spoofing attacks from striking your business’s information technology (IT) infrastructure by investing in cybersecurity solutions.

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