How to protect your Mac from spoofing
What is spoofing?
Spoofing is a type of scam when hackers attempt to get your personal information, passwords, banking credentials by pretending to be a legitimate business, your friend, or other reliable source. Cybercriminals usually use the names of big and trusted organizations to make you take some kind of action. They make you believe that the information you get via emails, text messages or calls is trustworthy, and you might not even notice when you start disclosing your data or downloading malware.
To avoid these kinds of attacks, you should know how spoofing works and how to prevent attacks from toying with you or your business.
What are the types of spoofing?
Spoofing attacks come in many forms. But in all of them, cybercriminals rely on the naivete of their victims. Let’s take a closer look.
Email spoofing occurs when the attacker uses an email message to trick you into thinking it came from a known source. These emails may include malicious attachments or links to infected websites. The end goal of every email is to gain access to your personal information or make you pay for a fake service.
How to detect email spoofing?
Usually such emails include a combination of deceptive features:
- False sender address. It’s designed to look like it’s from someone you trust: a company, friend, co-worker, etc.
- A lot of typos. Scammers don’t spend much time on proofreading, so be wary of unusual sentence constructions and grammatical errors.
- Branding may be different. Pay close attention to a company’s logo, font, colors, etc.
How to stop spoofing emails from your email address?
The rule is simple: double-check. Any email that asks for your password, Social Security number or any other personal information could be a trick.
Website spoofing is when scammers design fake web pages that look like a legitimate one. For example, attackers might create a fake version of a popular bank’s website in order to fool you into handing over your financial credentials. Once you log in using your ID and password, scammers could steal this information and access your accounts.
Please note that a spoofed website is not the same as a hacked website. When the website is hacked, the real website is compromised and changed by cybercriminals. On the contrary, website spoofing is all about creating a new web page that has a similar look and URL as a legitimate site.
Caller ID spoofing
This is a type of spoofing when scammers falsify the phone number from which they are calling in hope you take the call. These phone calls are coming from a specific number — either one that is known to you or one that indicates the specific geographic location. Attackers might even convince you that they are someone from a bank and ask for your passwords, account information, and more.
Text message spoofing
Like email and caller ID spoofing, SMS spoofing is used to fool you into thinking the message you receive is from a trusted person or organization. It may ask you to click on the link in the message, call a certain phone number or take any other action attackers want you to take.
How to prevent SMS spoofing?
No one can be 100% safe from text message spoofing. Just be careful when answering messages and where you provide your phone number — some services may not be secure.
Where email spoofing centers on the user, Internet Protocol (IP) spoofing is aimed at a network. Attackers create IP packets with a false IP address to pretend to be a legitimate sender. This type of spoofing is most frequently used in denial-of-service attacks.
With address resolution protocol (ARP) spoofing, the cybercriminal quietly sits on your network trying to crack its IP address. Once in, the hacker intercepts information to and from your computer. To overwhelm your system and cause a shutdown, the criminal may mix up and direct several IP addresses to you. These DoS attacks can crash business’ servers and suspend some operations.
DNS server spoofing
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a system that associates domain names with IP addresses. Devices that connect to the internet rely on the DNS for resolving URLs, email addresses, etc. In a DNS server spoofing attack, a malicious party modifies the server to reroute a specific domain name to another IP address. In most cases, this new IP address is infected with malware. DNS server spoofing attacks are often used to spread viruses and worms.
It’s worth noting that Google is in the process of removing spoofed domains from its search engine, but keeping an eye on sites will help you identify DNS spoofing.
GPS spoofing is more likely to be used in warfare or by gamers than to target individual consumers, but such technology exists, making anyone vulnerable. So, how it works?
GPS spoofing involves an attempt to deceive a GPS receiver by broadcasting a fake signal from the ground. As a result, all navigators start showing the wrong location. It can be used to hijack cars, yachts, confuse drones or sailors. Who’s doing it and why is a bit of mystery, but this kind of attack has a lot of practical uses.
How to stop spoofing attacks
Add these methods to your cyber arsenal to prevent spoofing attacks and keep your Mac safe.
Tip 1: Stick to two-factor authentication
Remember, passwords keep unwanted visitors out of your accounts. That’s why when it comes to protection, two-factor authentication is one of the most effective defenses available. It strengthens login security by requiring the second piece of information — usually a temporary code delivered by your phone.
When setting up two-factor authentication, most services allow you to use text messages. When logging in, you will receive a confirmation code on your mobile device. You just have to enter this code to confirm that you are trying to log in.
Here’s how two-factor authentication looks in Facebook:
Tip 2: Avoid giving away your personal information online
Here’re a few simple things to keep in mind:
- Don’t needlessly disclose your date of birth, favorite pet’s name, mother’s maiden name online — these things are often used as basic security questions.
- Don’t give away personal information on social networking sites.
- Don’t share your passwords and other sensitive data.
- If you are asked to fill out a profile of yourself, don’t give unnecessary personal information.
Tip 3: Don’t click on unknown links or attachments
Email is a major source of concern with regard to spreading malware. Therefore, you need to be careful with all the letters you receive. Don’t open file attachments if you don’t know the person the message is from, just delete it. Also, never click on unknown links as they may start downloading malware to your Mac. Any personal information you give away could help someone steal your identity.
Tip 4: Install anti-malware software
If you suspect a link you clicked downloaded something to your Mac, run a thorough scan of your system with a tool like CleanMyMac X. Its Malware Removal module can easily detect malicious DMGs and other files that you’ve been tricked into downloading. With the help of CleanMyMac X, you can easily protect your system from worms, viruses, miners, and other malware threats.
Follow these simple steps to run a malware scan on your Mac:
- Download the free version of CleanMyMac X (Apple-notarized version)
- Open the app and choose the Malware Removal tab.
- Click Scan.
- Click Remove to eliminate the found threats.
Moreover, CleanMyMac X has a real-time malware monitoring feature. It checks your system for suspicious activity and informs you about potential threats. This feature is running in the background and takes care of your system 24/7.
For additional protection, head over to CleanMyMac’s Privacy module. With its help, you can instantly remove your browsing history, along with traces of your online and offline activity.
As you see, CleanMyMac X has a lot of useful tools to keep your Mac protected. It’s used in more than 185 countries, making Macs as good as new. Note that the application is notarized by Apple and is running smoothly on the latest macOS Big Sur. Check it out — someone has to protect your Mac.
Tip 5: Remain extra vigilant
Spoofing can sometimes be easy to spot, but not always. Cybercriminals use sophisticated ways to trick you, so you always need to stay careful. Pay close attention to web addresses of the sites you’re visiting, links you open, calls you receive. Caution is your greatest protection.
With these prevention methods and strong anti-malware software, you can stop spoofing attacks and keep your personal data intact. Stay safe!