Types of Phishing- Malicious Acts That Can Put Your Sensitive Information At Risk

Phishing has evolved to a great extent since his royal highness first made its appearance. There are various types of phishing scams that are targeting business organizations every day. There are some phishing attacks that involve the use of emails and websites, and there are others that pose threats to the organization’s confidential data in the form of fake calls and text messages. So, to safeguard the organization from such cyberattacks and to take appropriate phishing measures, we first have to understand the types of phishing.

The phishing attack is like a net for the hackers in which they try to lure different phishes, whether the small ones or the big whales and try to catch them with the purpose of earning profits.

In phishing, hackers trick the users by posing themselves as a trusted entity and luring the victim by sending deceptive phishing emails or phishing messages with the goal to steal the sensitive information of the user.

We all know about phishing and how it works, but the hackers use different sophisticated disguises to con the users. So, let’s learn about these disguises and discuss the main types of phishing.

Learning About Phishing Types

There are several phishing scams carried out by the adversaries, the major of them are:

·        Email Phishing: In this, the cyber attacker sends an email that looks as good as real, like it came from a legitimate entity. The email contains a fraudulent phishing link that directs the user to a malicious phishing website. The website asks for various personal details of the user like the bank account details, card details, username and passwords, etc. When the user enters the details, the information gets transmitted to the adversary. Sometimes emails may contain attachments that can have malicious software that can enter your system and compromise confidential information.

·        Spear Phishing: It is a more sophisticated type of phishing email attack in which the foe pretends to be a friend. Firstly, the cyber-attacker gathers specific information regarding the victim, such as the victim’s name, address, job position, email address, and other personal information. After this, the scammer creates a customized email, by making use of all the gathered information, to trick the victim and make him believe that the message or the email is sent from a legit source. The email contains a Phishing URL or link that asks for the private information of the victim which when entered, is directed to the scammer.

·        Domain Spoofing: In this phishing type, the hackers make use of fake domains and websites to trick the user. They spoof the domains of authentic organizations and sends emails to the users making the domain look like an official one. Attackers even create fake websites using the logo and design of the official website. They make use of similar domain names and directs the victim to the fraudulent phishing website using a phishing email. This is how the user is victimized.

·        Whaling: Whaling phishing attacks is similar to spear phishing. The only difference is that in this, big “Whales” of the sea are targeted like the CEO, COO, CFO, or other senior personnel of the organization. Every bit of information is gathered, about the victim, which is later on used to trick and steal the data. Since senior management is on the target point; the organization can face huge losses that make whaling a dangerous threat.

·        Smishing and Vishing: Smishing and Vishing are similar type of phishing attacks with a minor difference. Smishing involves the use of text messages and the rest of the scam is similar to phishing emails. In Vishing, telephonic communication becomes the means of fraud. The victim poses to be an authorized person, like an official from the bank, who informs fake news about the breach in the bank account of the user. He then asks the user to update and verify the bank details on the phone. On sharing the details, the user becomes a victim of the phishing scam.

·        Clone Phishing: In this, the scammer creates an exact replica of an original email and takes advantage of its authentic look to victimize the user.

·        Search Engine Phishing: This phishing scam is conducted by the scammer by creating a fraudulent website that consists of fake products, schemes, and offers. The scammers even get the malicious website indexed by the search engine. When the user clicks on any of the schemes or products, personal information is asked and the user is victimized.

·        Water Hole Phishing: In such a phishing practice, a close watch is kept on the user and it is observed that he/she visits which website the most. Later on, hackers infect that website with malware. When the user again visits the site, the malware enters the computer system and compromises all the sensitive information.

In a nutshell, learning about the types of phishing helps us to take proper cybersecurity measures to prevent becoming a victim of such cyberattacks.        

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