- Spoofed E-Mail Addresses: Phishers use a variety of techniques and shareware tools so that the phishing e-mail appears legitimate (for example, customerservice@TARGETEDCOMPANY.com).
- Similar-Sounding URLs: In this case, the fraudulent Web site has a URL that sounds similar to that of the targeted company (for example, www.searss.com, www.discovercardaccountinfo.com). This was initially a very common practice but is falling out of favor due to increasing user sophistication and increased efforts by companies to purchase such domain names. A more sophisticated version is a "homograph attack" in which the phishing Web site incorporates nonstandard characters, such as a Cyrillic character that resembles the letter "A," to generate a malicious URL that looks identical to the legitimate URL.
- Phishing Using Only IP Address: Rather than a URL, the Web site uses an IP address. This could confuse nontechnical users, who might trust a Web site identified as a string of numbers as opposed to a Web site with a suspicious-sounding URL.
- Pop-Up Windows: When using pop-up windows, phishers direct victims to a Web site that opens the legitimate bank's Web site with a fraudulent pop-up window over it. This pop-up window contains the fields for entering the user's login and password.
Top 5 Obfuscation Techniques
In addition to the tactics mentioned above, phishers go to great lengths to obfuscate the fraudulent character of their pages. Among the most common methods developed over the past three years are the following: