Phishing is a type of cybersecurity attack in which malicious actors send messages posing as trustworthy people or institutions. Phishing messages deceive users into doing things like installing a malicious file, clicking on a risky link, or exposing critical information like access credentials.
Phishing, a wide term for attempts to persuade or deceive computer users, is the most common type of social engineering technique. Social engineering is a rising attack vector that is used in almost all security incidents. Phishing and other social engineering attacks are routinely employed in combination with other threats such as malware, code injection, and network assaults.
Types of Phishing
- Email Phishing
- Spear Phishing
- Smishing and Vishing
- Angler Phishing
The majority of phishing assaults are delivered via email. Attackers generally establish bogus domain names that resemble legitimate businesses and send hundreds of repetitive requests to victims.
Attackers may add or substitute characters (my-bank.com instead of mybank.com), utilize subdomains (ank.host.com), or use the trusted organization's name as the email username (email@example.com) to create phony domains. Many phishing emails induce a feeling of urgency or threat to persuade the recipient to act fast without first verifying the source or legitimacy of the email.
Malicious emails addressed to specific people are examples of spear phishing. Typically, the attacker already possesses some or all of the following information on the victim:
- Place of employment
- Job title
- Email address
- Specific information about their job role
- Trusted colleagues, family members, or other contacts, and samples of their writing
This information aids in the success of phishing emails and the manipulation of victims into undertaking tasks and activities such as money transfers.
Whaling assaults target top management and other positions of power in an organization. The ultimate purpose of whaling is the same as other forms of phishing attempts, although the approach is frequently quite subtle. Senior workers usually have a wealth of knowledge in the public domain, which attackers might utilize to design very powerful assaults.
Typically, these assaults do not employ techniques such as malicious URLs and bogus links. Instead, they employ highly tailored communications based on information gleaned from a thorough study of the victim. Whaling attackers, for example, utilize fraudulent tax returns to get sensitive information about the victim and use it to design their assault.
Smishing and Vishing
This is a phishing attempt that involves a phone call or a text message. Smishing is the fraudulent transmission of SMS messages, whereas vishing is the fraudulent transmission of phone calls.
An attacker in a common voice phishing scam poses as a fraud investigator for a credit card firm or bank, notifying victims that their account has been compromised. Criminals then request payment card information from the victim, ostensibly to verify their identification or transfer funds to a safe account (which is actually the attacker's).
Vishing schemes may also use automated phone calls posing to be from a trustworthy source and instructing the victim to input personal information onto their phone keypad.
These assaults take advantage of bogus social media profiles associated with well-known organizations. The attacker uses an account handle that looks like a legitimate firm (for example, @pizzahutcustomercare) and the same profile image as the real company account.
Attackers take advantage of consumers' proclivity to use social media platforms to lodge grievances and solicit assistance from companies. Instead of contacting the legitimate brand, the customer contacts the attacker's bogus social account.
When attackers get such a request, they may seek personal information from the consumer in order to identify the problem and respond correctly. In other circumstances, the attacker sends a link to a bogus customer service page that leads to a malicious website.
Methods to Prevent Phishing
- It is critical to teach your staff to recognize phishing methods, detect phishing signals, and report suspicious instances to the security team. Similarly, before dealing with a website, firms should urge employees to check for trust badges or stickers from well-known cybersecurity solutions or antivirus providers. This demonstrates that the website is concerned about security and is not likely to be fraudulent or harmful.
- Modern email filtering technologies can protect email communications from viruses and other dangerous payloads. Emails with harmful links, attachments, spam material, or language that might indicate a phishing assault can be detected by specific cybersecurity solutions. Email security solutions automatically detect and quarantine questionable emails, and they employ sandboxing technology to ‘detonate’ emails to determine whether they contain harmful code.
- The increased usage of cloud services and personal devices in the workplace has resulted in a plethora of new endpoints that may or may not be completely secured. Endpoint assaults will compromise certain endpoints, thus security teams must prepare for this possibility. Monitoring endpoints for security risks and implementing timely cleanup and response on compromised devices are critical.
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