6 Ways to Protect Yourself From Online Catfishing

Cybersecurity is a complex and ever-evolving subject. Just when you feel you may have understood a majority of common threats looming on the internet, something new comes up. Catfishing, for instance, may be a new term for many and you’re perhaps one of that regular internet and social media users who aren’t too familiar with catfishing and what exact damage catfish can cause.

In this blog, we get into the details of catfishing, the motives of online catfish, and most importantly, how you can protect yourself from them.

Catfishing involves a person using information and images to create a false identity for themselves on the internet. 

A catfish can sometimes steal another person’s full identity, including date of birth, photos, and geographical location, and pretend it’s their own. They then use the fake identity to trick others into doing business online or associating with them.

Catfishing is extremely common amongst dating app users as well. A catfish may pose as someone they’re not and trap others into romance scams.

It’s important to note that not all catfish are cybersecurity threats. Many people may catfish due to insecurities regarding who they are, mental instability, feelings of revenge, desire to experiment with sexual preferences, and more. While some catfish may not be malicious, many are fraudsters and perpetrators of cybersecurity scams against their targets.

How exactly do catfish scams work? Catfish trap unsuspecting targets to believe in their false identity and can extract vital, sensitive information in the process. Many can straight off ask for money and others may get precious credentials out of you. They may then use this sensitive information for monetary gains and in some extreme cases to unleash further sophisticated cyber-attacks or ransomware attacks against a business or organization you may be associated with.

While catfish are definitely out there in hoards and their intentions can range from impish to malicious, the only way to really deal with them is to know how to protect yourself from them. Below are ways to protect yourself and your personal information from potential catfish.

1. Do a background check

You can conduct a name search or an online background check with the help of services like Instant Checkmate. This can help reveal an individual’s social media profiles, news articles they could be mentioned in, or other digital content containing their name. After the initial search, you can confirm further personal details like their workplace, where they come from, their friends, etc. to make sure that who they claim to be matched with what the internet says about them.

2. Know the signs of being catfished

If the catfish’s description is thorough and detailed, it may be difficult to tell when you’re being catfished. Since the catfish’s profile is only created to target specific persons, they may not have a lot of followers or friends. A catfish may never want to voice or video call may avoid in-person meet-ups, and may even ask for money. These are all signs that you are being catfished and that you should put up your guard.

3. Never share your personal information

Oversharing personal information with strangers can be dangerous. If someone you’ve just met online begins asking for your personal data such as an address, additional contact information, or account details, or tries to push you to tell them things regarding your life or your work, they could be catfishing you.

If they ask you for a password on the pretext of an emergency, that’s a really major warning sign that something is up. Asking for personal data is another big red flag because that behavior isn’t normal, and it should raise cause for alarm.

4. Be suspicious of those you don’t know

Be careful when you receive friend requests, correspondence, or message requests from people you aren’t familiar with. Treat online conversations the same as real-life ones. While it’s okay to interact with new people and make more friends, you should be cautious and look out for catfishing signs discussed above.

5. Ask questions that require specific knowledge

If you suspect that someone is catfishing, ask them questions that only people with their reported background would know. You can ask about malls and restaurants from where they claim to come from or something particular about what they do. If they’re hesitant or try to avoid your questions, be wary of them.

6. Use reverse image search to identify fake profile photos

Social media is full of fake images and profiles. If you’re suspicious of the person you’re chatting with online, consider using a reverse image search to identify fake images. This tool also allows you to confirm a photo’s authenticity by looking at similar images and the original version of the photo.

Cyber Security Best Practices that Every Business Should Follow

Cyber Security Awareness amongst employees has emerged as one of the primary concerns that a business must focus on in the modern, digital age. Imparting basic skills needed for cyber security to employees has often been the critical differentiator between companies that get compromised and those that don’t. 

The 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack is a case in point – the global cybercrime “epidemic” managed to attack those businesses that had not made necessary updates to their Windows systems. 

Had the global cybersecurity awareness levels been higher and if more organizations across the world were following better cyber security practices, perhaps the number of attacks and the damage they’re able to cause today would be much lesser. 

In this blog, we highlight some basic cyber security best practices that businesses should follow to protect themselves from cybercrime, as well as to protect the data of their customers, clients, and partners. This list is just indicative and only scratches the surface in terms of what you can do to ensure greater cyber resilience for your business. 

7 Cyber Security Best Practices To Follow

1. Review Encryption Software: It is important to review your current encryption processes, and keep up to date with the latest technology. With cyber criminals getting more advanced every day and the number of people trying to steal information for monetary gains growing, it is crucial to review your encryption software and ensure that it is up to scratch. 

2. Review Vendor Security: It is important to review the third-party security because your data gets transferred between your company and theirs. Your company can be as secure as you want it to be, but if the people who receive and handle your data do not have the same level of security, your data and the sensitive information of your customers continue to be at risk.

3. Invest in the IT Team: As a company, your IT team is your first line of both defense and offense. The people who make up your IT team need to be trained and updated with the latest information on what to look out for in terms of cyber-attacks and potential issues. Having meetings with your IT team, understanding their concerns, and investing in the best possible resources for them are all great ideas if you want to ensure that you have a good cybersecurity posture.

4. Understand your Backups: Check and understand how you backup your data on a regular basis. Backing up your data is an important operation, crucial to business functioning; but it is also one of the key components of a ransomware readiness checklist.  If your backup technologies are secure and your backup processes are foolproof, that’s half the battle won against ransomware attackers as they won’t be able to block your access to your own data.  

5. Review Authentication Processes: The way that authentication occurs in a business should always be recorded, and the way that employees use certain systems should have checks and balances to ensure that there is no use in bad faith. Authentication processes should be as watertight as possible, and it is important to have a record of who has what access within a business. Privileged access users should be monitored and trained with a greater degree of diligence. 

6. Continue emphasizing strong passwords: As a security-focused business, you’ve probably already highlighted the importance of using strong passwords for your staff. But this is one aspect of good cybersecurity hygiene that needs continuous reiteration.

Often one leaked password is all it has taken for cyber criminals to unleash large-scale attacks on massive organizations. It should also be made mandatory for everyone to use multi-factor authentication to log in to their systems or corporate accounts. This adds another very important layer of security.  

7. Staff Training: Finally, cybersecurity training is key not just for general employees, but also for IT teams and everyone in the management. It is important to make sure that your entire company is well trained in cyber security awareness and cyber incident response training.

In terms of cybersecurity awareness training, every employee must understand their individual roles and responsibilities when it comes to cyber security. They must understand the importance of not opening malicious links, suspicious emails, or pop-ups that look untrustworthy. These and other phishing tactics lead to most identity thefts and ransomware attacks.

What is Secure Access Service Edge in Cybersecurity?

The digital transformation of businesses around the world has accelerated significantly in recent years. With the spread of digitalization, there is a very high increase in the number of threats in businesses due to the deficiencies in traditional network security technology. This indicates that stronger measures are needed for data security and network protection.

With the emergence of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) as one of these measures, network and security professionals aim to adapt to the distributed nature of users and data. According to a recent global survey, 19 percent of respondents are planning to deploy SASE in the next twelve months to obtain high security.  

SASE stands out as a security approach combined with cloud services that distribute traffic faster than traditional network services. Before deploying SASE in your business, you should understand SASE capabilities. To use SASE consistently and implement it strategically, it would be beneficial to get more information about SASE.

What Is Secure Access Service Edge?

Expected to be an essential part of enterprise network systems, SASE is an advanced network solution that offers superior performance and the highest security at an affordable cost. SASE also refers to the process of combining SD-WAN with VPN and in this way, they both run as a cloud service at the source.

The unified SASE platform aims to:  

  • Reduce complexity and costs.
  • Prevent data loss wherever data is used, from the edge to the cloud.
  • Meet the instant and uninterrupted service demands of its customers.
  • Protect employees from advanced threats with cloud-based SASE wherever they are.

SASE runs organizations’ network and security functions closer to the endpoints and puts the cloud at the center of the network with cloud-built security tools. At the heart of the SASE platform, there is a data protection solution that gives you unmatched control over many aspects of your data and ensures uniform connectivity and protection from anywhere so you can work from anywhere.

SASE provides a distributed workforce with secure remote access to cloud resources. It’s easy to gain quickness, mobility, reduced complexity, and expense reduction by applying SASE to your business. 

What Are the Main Components of SASE?

SASE combines multiple solutions and five key components at the center of its capabilities. These components are as follows:

Secure Web Gateways | SWGs:

Secure Web Gateways protect against malicious web-based software on SASE networks. Filters unwanted malware from network traffic and enforces corporate policy compliance. In addition, web-based applications are also regularly monitored by SWG solutions.

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA):

Zero Trust Network Access offers secure remote access to any data or application. Unlike standard VPN solutions, it makes it possible to assign privileges and authorizations to users and devices. It works with the motto “Never trust, always verify”.  

ZTNA maximizes security by subjecting devices and users accessing the network to authentication processes based on location, identity, and other criteria through advanced authentication protocols that can be replicated.

Cloud-Native Architecture:

Cloud-Native Architecture works with WAN architecture with a combination of network security functions. It offers extensive scalability and flexibility. Cloud-based services can be easily tailored to user and company needs and requirements. You can build a secure infrastructure for location, mobile devices, edge computing solutions, IoT technologies, cloud data centers, and more.

Firewall as a Service:

Firewall as a Service acts as a comprehensive intrusion prevention system for online businesses much more efficiently than a physical firewall. FWaaS can be adapted to any network and need thanks to cloud technologies.

Data Loss Protection:

Data Loss Protection can be defined as a data loss protection engine integrated into the SASE architecture. DLP makes it easy to track by providing visibility into data in use, in motion, and at rest. It can protect confidential data and important activities. This protection may require encryption. It can send network security alerts to minimize the overall risk of any security and data breach.