While researching for this article about Gary Berman’s wildly popular comic series, The CyberHero Adventures: Defenders of the Digital Universe, I came across a villain that is all-too-familiar to me… Phoebe the Phisher!

A few years back, I became intimately aware of The Phisher when my mom fell prey to a phishing scam. She received an email, falsely claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support, alerting her to potential threats to her account, prompting her to click on the link and relinquish her password to “resolve the problem.”  Other family members received the one below, which looked like they canceled an order with Amazon:

Sample Phishing Scam (Source: Microsoft)

What ensued was a painstakingly difficult process of shutting down bank accounts and credit cards, changing passwords across platforms, and sleepless nights due to stress over what consequences may lay ahead.

The Phisher is among the most despicable cyber criminals, because it disguises itself as a trusted person or company to take advantage of unsuspecting victims and ruin their credit, their security, their privacy, and their lives.

Cyber-villain Phoebe the Phisher

About Phoebe the Phisher (source: Wikipedia.org):

Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, it often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website, the look and feel of which are identical to the legitimate site.

Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques being used to deceive users. Users are often lured by communications purporting to be from trusted parties such as social web sitesauction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators.

Attempts to deal with phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures — because phishing attacks also often exploit weaknesses in current web security.

There are some really cool companies like Inky working to solve this problem for us, using artificial intelligence and ‘big data’ to automatically determine if an email is a threat.  There are many others such as KnowBe4 and Cofense (formerly Phishme).  Without tools and proper training, Phoebe the Phisher seems like she’ll just keep on winning.

The CyberHeroes comic series is on a mission to raise public awareness and promote effective cyber-hygiene by distilling complex technical information into FUN and ENGAGING superhero stories.  No matter what solution you choose, you should try to make it fun and compelling for your employees to become smarter about stopping Phoebe.  Employee retention rates are much higher when they are having fun while at the same time learning good cyber hygiene.  To learn more, visit the CyberHeroes website at: https://www.cyberheroescomics.com/

About the Author

Olivier Vallez, Cybersecurity Reporter, Cyber Defense Magazine.

Olivier Vallez employs a dynamic background in his approach to writing, having worked in fields such as law, marketing, finance, and emerging technology. He is currently focused on spreading awareness of cyber safety to empower people of all ages to behave safely in the digital realm.”