Understanding Phishing: Types, Examples, Ways to Prevent

Understanding Phishing: What is It?

Currently, the number of people working remotely is growing rapidly, as is the number of potential digital threats.

One of the most dangerous and common types of Internet fraud is phishing.

Scammers create phishing sites to obtain users’ personal information. And inattentive or insufficiently informed visitors fall for their bait.

So, Phishing is What Type of Attack?

Phishing is a kind of cyberattack where attackers use false websites, emails, or messages to deceive victims into divulging personal information.

Its primary objectives are:

  • Theft of personal data such as logins and passwords;
  • Financial data theft (credit card, payment system, and account data);
  • Obtaining corporate data (business secrets, development plans, etc.);
  • Distribution of malware.

Consequently, this results in monetary losses, the compromise of networks, computer systems, and even entire businesses, along with a decline in customer and partner confidence.

There are several types of phishing assaults.

What are the Phishing Attack Methods?

Here are some common phishing attack methods:

1. Phishing by email:

Attackers send phony emails that seem to be from reputable companies, such as banks or governmental organizations.

These emails frequently include attachments or links that, when opened, download malware or take users to harmful websites.

One of the illustrative examples of phishing emails is the following:

You get a letter informing you that your mailbox’s password has been compromised and that you should update it.

Understanding Phishing: Phishing by Email

If you click on the email’s link, you land on a phony website, from where hackers can access your messages.

This is exactly how unknown people stole 50 thousand emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta. Many of them contained compromising information. Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election as a result.

Check the sender’s details carefully, stay away from dubious links, and hover over links to see the real URL in order to safeguard yourself from phishing emails.

2. Spear phishing:

It is a targeted form of phishing in which attackers tailor their messages to a specific person or organization, often using information obtained from social media or other sources.

Understanding Phishing: Spear Fishing

One of such phishing scams examples is when 110 million credit card records and credentials belonging to Target customers were stolen in 2013. The culprit was the compromised account of one subcontractor.

Understanding the tactics used in spear phishing and implementing preventive security measures are important steps in protecting individuals and organizations from falling victim to these targeted attacks.

3. “Whaling” attacks:

“Whaling” usually refers to a specific type of phishing attack that targets high-ranking individuals in a company, such as executives or decision makers.

One of such phishing attack examples is the following:

In 2020, the co-founder of the Australian hedge fund Levitas Capital opened an email with a fake Zoom link, which infected his fund’s entire corporate network with malicious code and gave hackers control of email systems.

Understanding Phishing: "Whaling" Attacks

The criminals used this access to send out fake invoices worth more than $8 million on behalf of Levitas Capital. As a result, the fund was closed.

Senior officials must remain vigilant to protect themselves and their organizations from whaling attacks.

4. Vishing (voice phishing):

It is a form of phishing in which attackers use voice communications to trick people into providing sensitive information or performing certain actions.

Understanding Phishing: Vishing (voice phishing)

To avoid falling for such scams, be skeptical about unwanted calls asking for personal information.

5. Smishing (SMS phishing):

This is a phishing method where people are tricked into disclosing private information by sending them bogus text messages (SMS).

Understanding Phishing: Smishing (SMS phishing)

Do not click on links in unsolicited text messages if you want to prevent becoming a victim.

6. Farming:

Here, attackers redirect website traffic to fraudulent sites without the user’s knowledge in order to collect sensitive information.

To keep away from farming, use secure and updated web browsers.

Understanding Phishing: Farming

These are the main types of phishing attacks.

There are other forms of phishing as well.

Phishing in search engines, malicious advertising, using tabs, QR code phishing, attacks on the “watering hole” (cybercriminals put websites that their victims frequently visit at risk), and Man in the Middle (MitM) attacks (the attacker intercepts and potentially modifies the communication between two parties) are among them.

Being aware of the most recent risks is crucial because phishing attack methods and tactics are always changing.

Ways to Prevent Phishing

Here are a few recommended procedures and ways to help prevent phishing:

1. Provide regular phishing training to employees and constantly support their phishing awareness.

Understanding Phishing: Phishing Attack Examples

2. Implement advanced email filtering solutions.

Use email security gateways such as Proofpoint or Barracuda to prevent email spoofing and phishing attacks.

Understanding Phishing: Examples of Phishing Emails

3. Provide multi-factor authentication for access to sensitive systems and accounts.

Understanding Phishing: Prevent Phishing Attacks

4. Keep all software up to date.

Understanding Phishing: Types of Phishing Attacks

5. Teach users to hover over links in emails before clicking on them to view the actual URL.

Understanding Phishing:  Phishing Awareness

6. Implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols to authenticate email and prevent spoofing.

Understanding Phishing: Phishing Attack Methods

7. Urge visitors to make sure the websites they visit are connected securely (HTTPS).

Understanding Phishing: Phishing is What Type of Attack?

8. To find and stop malware connected to phishing scams, use trustworthy antivirus software.

Understanding Phishing: Phishing Scams Examples

Businesses can greatly strengthen their defenses against phishing attempts and provide a more secure online environment by using these tactics.

Regular training and awareness of new phishing tactics are critical components of a comprehensive defense strategy. If you are looking for a reliable provider of data security services, Klik Solutions is here for you. Whether you need cyber security protection services or managed IT services in Baltimore, contact us to stay safe.

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