What is spoofing?
Just like real-world criminals and con artists, online thieves can use impersonation as a means to steal important information or get access to bank accounts. This practice is called spoofing — an umbrella term that includes IP address spoofing (sending messages to a computer using an IP address that makes it look as if the message is coming from a trusted source), email spoofing (forging an e-mail header to make it look like it came from somewhere or someone other than the actual source) and DNS spoofing (modifying the DNS server in order to reroute a specific domain name to a different IP address).
How does spoofing work?
Spoofing is a type of technological impersonation that seeks to fool either a network or a human into believing that the source of some information is trustworthy, when it’s anything but. Hackers, for example, might email spoof you by sending you emails disguised as coming from someone you trust as a way to get you to hand over sensitive data. Or, they might try IP spoofing and DNS spoofing to trick your network itself into leading you to fraudulent sites that will infect your computer.
How can you recognize spoofing?
Email spoofing is the easiest to recognize as it targets users directly. Any strange email that requests sensitive information could be a spoof, especially if it asks for usernames and passwords. Remember, legitimate sites will never ask for these. You can also check the email address to make sure it’s from a legitimate account. However, you may never know if you’re the victim of IP or DNS spoofing, although keeping keen eye out for small changes or unusual behavior could clue you in. When in doubt, it’s better to play it safe to keep from making any disastrous mistakes.
Can you remove spoofs?
Since spoofing is a type of impersonation, it’s not really something you can remove. Instead, you can protect yourself by using a little bit of common sense and discretion when browsing or answering emails, even if you think they’re trustworthy.
How to prevent spoofing
- Don’t reply to any email asking for account details or login info
- Double-check the sender address of any suspicious emails
- Pay attention if any of your trusted websites look or start acting differently
Protect yourself against spoofing
Protection against spoofing can be as easy as staying on guard whenever you’re online. But there’s more you can do to stay safe. You can also make sure that you’re using a powerful antivirus, such as those offered by Avast which will protect you from imposter sites as well as catch and destroy viruses that try to infiltrate your network.