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What is Email Spoofing? How Hackers Impersonate Legitimate Senders

There are some very common reasons behind Email Spoofing, read on to know how you can protect yourself.

 

Email spoofing is easily the most commonly employed way by threat actors for initiating phishing and spam attacks. Normally, hackers use this technique to trick users by making them believe that the email that is being sent to them is either coming from someone they know or a trustworthy source  

In Email spoofing attacks, the hacker creates an email header so that victims’ software unveils the illegal sender address. Unless they examine the header firmly, users see the fraud sender in the message. If the user acknowledges the given name, he will be more likely to trust it and click on malicious links or file attachments to send personal credentials and even financial information. 

Email spoofing attacks are achievable because the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) or the core email protocols do not facilitate any authentication mechanism for checking on such spam or phishing attacks that allow hackers to mislead or even prank the recipient about the origin of the message. 

However, email address authentication protocols and mechanisms have been developed to combat such spam attacks; adoption of those mechanisms has been slow. 
 

Besides the common  purposes behind ‘phishing or spam attacks, there are several others as mentioned below:

  • Hiding the sender’s true identity
  • Pretending to be someone 
  • Avoiding spam blocklists
  • Pretending to be from a business 
  • Sending messages in someone’s name 
  • Tarnishing the image of the assumed sender
 
Since the email protocol SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) does not provide a strong authentication mechanism that made things easy for malicious actors, several frameworks have been developed to allow authentication of incoming messages including SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (Domain Key Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance). 

To avoid becoming a victim of email spoofing attacks, it is imperative to have an updated anti-malware software. Additionally, when you feel unsure about the email, contact the sender directly  
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