Will Machine Learning End Phishing?

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While the speculation that robots will one day take jobs away from people is often cast as a negative, there’s one industry most of the world will be glad to see destroyed by AI and robots: phishing scammers.

In a recent Ars Technica report, the newest tools cybersecurity experts use to fight back against phishing scammers is discussed at length. And while it doesn’t provide much practical advice for individuals, it proposes taking the next steps of coupling the currently available technology with more robust machine learning.

However, as we’ve all seen over the years, when one door closes, hackers seem to just find another way in.

Check URLs Before Giving Up Any Information

If you’re about to enter your credit card information or account name and password anywhere online, you probably already know that you should double-check the URL (especially if you landed at the payment page via a link on the internet, or from an email).

Unfortunately, as explained by Ars Technica, phishing scammers are getting better and better, meaning that even if you check the URL, you might not notice anything is amiss. The scammers have payment and login screen pages setup that are near exact copies, and these pages can have a lifespan of only a couple days, which makes removing these sites rather difficult by web hosts and authorities.

When in Doubt, Click Out

If you have any doubts about a particular webpage that is asking you for information, you can always click out and start over from a trusted source. For example, you get an email from your bank asking you to login to review something. When you click that link, it takes you to what appears to be the bank’s login screen. When you check the URL, everything looks okay (it has your bank’s name there, and it’s spelled correctly), but you’re still nervous because you’ve read that this is exactly how phishing scams work.

Rather than login to the page through the link, close your browser, open a new window, and navigate to your bank’s website and don’t let your browser’s autofill just take you back to the page you got to from the link.

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