The Internet can be a dangerous place. We all know about a number of scams that come via email, or software being downloaded via viruses and malware in attachments, but there is one other area that both yourself at home and businesses need to be made aware of. That area involves the creation of fake websites and the number of private individuals or companies that have been caught out by them is on the increase. This entire scam is also known online as phishing and it is important that you know more about it.
Of course you may be wondering as to what we mean by a fake website and the part that is most frightening is that it can be very easy to be caught out if you are not on your guard. Basically, these websites are direct replicas of genuine websites. They appear to look the same, their domain name may also be almost identical and on the face of it you would believe that you were on an authentic website. However, there is a problem. This fake website is going to have some kind of nasty surprise built into it and that surprise could lead to your computer and personal information being compromised as well as business developing technical problems with their computer systems after being hacked, or potentially even fraudulent activity being carried out on your bank account.
This does sound dangerous and in order to highlight the issue we should look at an example that may no longer be working as you read this blog. You may be familiar with various products produced by a company called Adobe. Their website is at adobe.com, but if you plan on installing their flash player and do a Google search, then there is a link to a website with the domain name adobe-flash.download-update.org.
At first, this may seem genuine, but that is the skill of fake websites in that they play on the fact that we tend to react almost instantly on these kinds of websites and carry out various actions before we really think about them. In this instance, it makes us believe that we are going to be downloading a genuine Adobe product, but the truth of the matter is that this is not the case. Instead, you are going to download software that masquerades as Adobe, but in actual fact could be extremely dangerous not only for your entire computer system no matter if you are a multi-national company or just somebody that does some surfing at home.
These websites are a huge problem and the costs to individuals and businesses around the world in a single year runs into millions simply through repair costs, IT charges, software being replaced, lost business, and money being taken from bank accounts due to malware and key-logging software inadvertently being downloaded. The problem is that it only takes a matter of seconds for the damage to be done, but the fall out from landing on the wrong website can be spectacular.
What you need to do is to educate yourself on false websites and to make sure that any software is downloaded via genuine links and official websites. Do not follow blind links or follow any potential shortcuts as it could be a costly mistake and you need to ask yourself the question, can you cope with the damage that may be caused by downloading the wrong thing from the wrong website?