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Learn phishing with online courses and programs

Phishing scams pose a serious threat to people’s confidential data. Anti-phishing courses can teach you about the different anti-phishing tools available to protect sensitive business data and personal details.

What is phishing?

Phishing is an online crime in which a scammer pretends to be another person, company, or representative in order to trick their target into revealing confidential information.Footnote 1 Phishing scams are typically associated with email, but fraudsters can also use phone calls, texts, and direct messages on social media sites.

Scammers will commonly masquerade as entities that their victims might anticipate would solicit their personal and financial data, including:

  • Banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions

  • Internet service providers

  • Phone companies

  • Payment processors

  • Subscription services

  • Digital retailers

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Why learn about phishing?

Phishing is one of the most prevalent types of online scams in the U.S.Footnote 2 From posing as an authority figure to creating fake websites to sending malicious attachments, perpetrators use different methods to create a sense of urgency and trust for targets. Phishers may pair phishing attacks with spoofing to make the scam appear more legitimate.

Spoofing is a type of cybercrime where the scammers make their contact information look nearly identical to a legitimate source so it's not immediately obvious. For example, they may use a fake domain or change a letter in the main URL.Footnote 3

In search of higher success rates for phishing attempts, scammers send out messages en masse to as many addresses as possible in hopes that recipients will take the initial bait. More targeted types of phishing attacks include whaling and spear phishing. The implications of phishing are far reaching. Scammers may use the information to drain your accounts, take on debt in your name, or make purchases.

Phishing tutorial curriculum

If you are interested in how to learn phishing, you can take a phishing tutorial, which may introduce you to the methods scammers use to make first contact.Footnote 4 Learners could then explore the various scopes of phishing campaigns, from random bulk emails to targeted business scams.

After you’re familiar with the basics, you can move to intermediate level topics, which may cover how to identify an attack by examining the wording, contact details, requested information, and more. You may also dive deeper into the social engineering tactics scammers use.

At advanced levels, you may practice scanning links for malicious content, and review industry-standard guidelines and anti-phishing tools to keep yourself from being a potential victim.

From foundational tutorials to advanced courses, a variety of educational opportunities are available to different learners. edX makes it easy to explore all available training options.

Learn specialized skills with accelerated boot camps. Or take a more comprehensive approach to learning by pursuing a bachelor’s degree or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree. Professionals who want to adapt and expand their impact can also explore executive education courses.

Explore anti-phishing jobs

People with expertise in phishing prevention and related technical qualifications can pursue careers as:

  • Penetration testers: Also called pentesters for short, or ethical hackers, their job is to break through a company's security system to identify weak spots.

  • Security engineers: They build a company's security systems.

  • Security or system administrators: They manage a company's security system to ensure it functions as intended and check for possible threats.

  • Security analysts or auditors: They assess a company's existing security systems and suggest necessary improvements. They can ensure compliance with regional or industry standards.

  • Vulnerability researchers: They continuously evaluate security systems for possible weaknesses that they report to the company.

  • IT support specialists: They can work with employees who have been tricked into handing over company information or installing malware on their work devices; their duties may include changing compromised credentials and analyzing what was accessed.

Because technology is constantly changing, professionals may find it beneficial to stay up to date with the latest risks and defensive courses of action. Learners who want to rapidly expand their coding knowledge to be able to recognize and address certain phishing attacks can sign up for coding boot camps. Professionals who would like to gain in-depth knowledge about phishing scams and anti-phishing tools can consider cybersecurity boot camps.

Anti-phishing tools used by cybersecurity professionals

As an information security specialist, you may need to rely on various professional tools to complete your tasks, including:

  • Developing backup solutions that act as a failsafe in the event of breaches and ransomware.

  • Utilizing authenticators like 2-step verification services that ensure only the right people have access.

  • Emailing clients with advanced spam protection that filters out most suspicious messages.

  • Using password managers to secure login details.

  • Installing antivirus software that scans links and downloads to keep malware out.

Evaluate a company's security needs and risk levels, and use your findings to integrate the measures that address them most comprehensively. Organizations can also benefit from professional anti-phishing training for their staff, where a mock attempt can identify who's vulnerable.

If you are ready to start working toward a career as a professional in this industry, start learning how to apply important cybersecurity concepts and use relevant tools from courses delivered through edX.