What is Cloning in Cyber Security?

In this guide, you’ll learn about what cloning in cyber security is, types of cloning, clone phishing examples, and how to prevent clone phishing.

📌 Table of Contents

What is Clone Attack? 

A clone attack is a phishing attack where hackers copy or steal the images and personal details about a person or company and create a cloned profile by replacing it with a fake or malicious website URL and send requests/emails to their target networks for their monetary benefits.

This cloned email helps hackers reach their victims’ inboxes and forward the same email to their contacts.

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What is Cloning in Cyber Security?

In Cyber security, Cloning is the process of choosing any legitimate document or application, making an exact copy of the file, and replacing its actual URL with a malicious URL that takes a user into a phishing site and gets trapped by a hacker.

Clone phishing is an unauthorized duplication process done by hackers for their monetary benefits. 

Types of Cloning

There are two types of Cloning: 

1. Full Cloning: Full cloning, as per name implies, it’s a full cloning Process that clones a VM completely with its virtual hard drive and resources. It’s hard to see the difference between original and cloned VM. 

2. Linked cloning: Linked cloning is quite different where it creates only a delta disk instead of a complete disk. Also, it’s smaller because it takes less time to create than full cloning. 

What Spooling Is Used for?

Spooling is a process of holding data for a temporary basis on any intermediate platform and processed by a device, program, or system. There are different uses of Spooling. The most common use of Spooling is in I/O devices like Printer.

In Printer, the document/file is sent to the printer, and once the printer analyzes and is stored in memory, it is ready to print.

Hackers can easily attack these printers because they allow non-administrative entry and accessing the files that are temporarily held on the printer. 

📌 Relevant read: Learn what is spooling in cyber security

What Does Clone Phishing Look Like?

The hackers mostly use Clone Phishing to send emails to their target networks by copying the details of trusted organizations and attaching their malicious URLs so that their targeted network considers their email as coming from trusted sources and gets trapped.

Here are some signs that you can use to recognize the clone phishing attacks:

  • Mostly these Clone Phishing emails look like “Hurry Up! credit your money” or “Immediate Discount offer – Gone Soon.”
  • You’ll get a warning sign “before downloading an attached file.”
  • You can try calling the sender to see if it’s legitimate.
  • Some invitations to collect rewards, coupons, or Advertisements
  • Check the “domain name” twice – it seems similar but quite different.
  • Its email address doesn’t match the sender’s profile.
  • Scan the documents via antivirus to find bugs or malicious code before opening
  • Many spelling & grammatical mistakes in the content can be suspicious.

These are the most common elements that quickly determine Clone Phishing. 

Let’s understand with an example to understand how hackers clone the website:

1. Genuine website: www.facebook.com

2. Clone Phishing website: www.faceb00k.com

Both websites seem similar, and this is where hackers copy brands’ identities and add their malicious URLs to target their networks and get them trapped. 

📌 Relevant read: How does technology influence cyber security

How to Prevent Clone Phishing?

Clone Phishing is a very common Phishing attack that hackers use. 14.5 billion spam emails are sent per day globally, according to Spam laws. In today’s increasing spam rate, staying alert and preventing clone phishing attacks is essential. Here are some most useful tips that help to prevent clone phishing:

  • Before opening any email, make sure to check its source
  • Keep the focus on minor details like spelling errors, grammar, and malicious URLs
  • Hover over the link before clicking on it (check its authenticity)
  • Follow up with the organization that sent the email.
  • Only trust “HTTPS URLs,” not “HTTP URLs.”
  • If you find something suspicious in an email, immediately report it to an anti-phishing organization.
  • Make sure that you’re aware of basic security measures and email etiquette to find emails genuine or not.
  • Use spam filters that help to identify genuine and spam emails.

These tips will surely help you to protect against Clone Phishing. 

Best Examples of Clone Phishing

1. Invitation Links 

One of the most common clone phishing is invitation links. Where hackers send attractive and seemingly authentic invitation links to their target networks, these invitation links seem genuine but come with a malicious URL so that people can click on the invitation link and get trapped. By clicking on the invitation links, your account can be affected similarly and send these malicious links to your contacts. 

2. Expiring Credit

Many companies are running marketing campaigns offering credits to their loyal customers. Hackers take advantage of this campaign and create an exact similar campaign but add their malicious URL in the email to target a large number of networks. It’s a very popular and easy Phishing method that people usually don’t identify and get trapped in these Phishing attacks. 

3. Time-Sensitive Subject Lines

Time-sensitive subject lines are used by hackers to create urgency for the offer and encourage readers to take immediate action by clicking on their malicious URL and getting trapped. These lines indicate any offer or discounts that can be gone soon if a reader doesn’t take any action, but when the reader clicks on the link, it’s redirected to a malicious URL. 

Final Words

Clone Phishing attacks are growing rapidly, and it’s a harmful attacks. 96% of phishing attacks are done through email, according to Tessian. So it becomes essential for people and organizations to be alert to these attacks and prevent them from any attack.

We hope this article helps you know about cloning attacks, their types, and the best ways to prevent clone phishing.

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