How Hackers Use HTML Code to Steal Your Data

November 24, 2020

Phishing emails are among the trickiest, yet often most successful, types of cybersecurity attacks. By soliciting personal information through emails that look genuine, hackers can steal credit card information, banking details, Social Security numbers, contacts, addresses, and much more. Private email has long been equipped to stop such attacks, and some public providers have ramped up security to curb phishing. However, a new technique known as the phishing HTML code scam is on the rise, and users who still rely on public email are at risk.

As phishing has emerged as a top threat to cybersecurity, email services have tightened filters to scan for red flags that could suggest a malicious email. With a phishing email, hackers disguise their scam by burying malicious code into the text that appears to the user as gibberish. On the back end, email security tools scan that code for uniformity—if it purports to include a brand name but the email actually doesn’t originate from that brand, it can be flagged as a potential phishing email.

But hackers have wizened to those tools. With an HTML code approach, cybercriminals mask the malicious text, changing the color and font and embedding it within the complex arrangement of letters and numbers that allows for digital communication and security.

“Attackers can embed text into their emails that is both invisible to end-users and visible—and confusing—to the machines that automatically scan the mail looking for signs of malicious intent or branding,” researchers explained to Inky Technology. “If the software is looking for brand-indicative text like ‘Office 365’, it won’t find a match.”  

That can ultimately trick the software into allowing the email to pass through to the user, which may ultimately trick the user into divulging personal, sensitive information.

Private email offers state-of-the-art security tools that can root out even the most sophisticated cybersecurity scams. An email service like presents a strong line of defense against phishing HTML code emails and other threats. By educating yourself on the risks of public email and the increasingly complex nature of malicious cyberattacks, you can protect your data, your security, and your privacy.


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