Phishing is a type of cyber attack where attackers try to steal sensitive information, i.e. passwords, credit card numbers, and personal data, by tricking individuals or organizations into giving it away. It is one of the most common forms of cybercrime and can be carried out through various means, such as emails, phone calls, messages, or fake websites.
Phishing attacks can have severe consequences for both natural and legal persons, including financial loss, identity theft, and damage to reputation. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the common phishing tactics used by attackers and how to protect against them.
Here Are Common Six Types Of Phishing Attacks Targeting Individuals and Organizations
1. Email Phishing
Email phishing is one of the types of phishing attacks where attackers send fraudulent emails pretending to be from a reputable organization or individual. The emails may contain links or attachments that, when clicked, install malware or redirect the recipient to a fake website where they are prompted to enter their login credentials or personal data.
More often than not, this is done via spoofed emails from financial institutions or online payment providers.
Phony emails from well-known companies claim that the recipient’s account has been compromised and request them to click a link to update their information.
Organizations and individuals can protect against email phishing by being cautious of unsolicited emails, verifying the sender’s identity, not clicking suspicious links or attachments, and using anti-virus software.
2. SMS Phishing
SMS phishing, also known as smishing, is a phishing attack that uses text messages instead of emails. Attackers send text messages posing as a trusted organization or individual and asking the recipient to click a link or call a phone number. The link or phone number leads to a fake website or automated system that prompts the recipient to enter sensitive information.
Text messages claiming to be from a bank or financial institution asking for account information or login credentials are the most likely from this attack place.
Alternatively, scammers can send messages from a “delivery company”, saying that a package could not be delivered and asking the recipient to click a link to track it.
Individuals can protect themselves against SMS phishing by not responding to unsolicited text messages, verifying the sender’s identity via PhoneHistory, not clicking suspicious links, and reporting any suspicious text message to their phone carrier.
3. Voice Phishing
The next most common type of phishing is voice phishing. Also known as vishing, it is a phishing attack that uses voice calls or voicemails to trick individuals into giving away sensitive information. Attackers may pose as a representative from a bank, government agency, or technical support team and ask for login credentials, credit card numbers, or personal details.
Individuals can protect against vishing by not giving out personal information over the phone, verifying the caller’s identity, and reporting any suspicious call to the relevant authorities. In the US, scam reports are collected by local government, as well as by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The complaint may be registered online or reported by phone at 1-877-382-4357.
4. Website Phishing
Website phishing is where attackers create fake websites that look legitimate and trick individuals into entering their login credentials or personal information. These fake websites are often designed to mimic the appearance and functionality of well-known websites, such as online banks or e-commerce sites.
As mentioned above, you will find that these attacks imitate fake online banking websites that ask for login credentials or phony e-commerce sites. Other times, they may also be impersonated by social media sites that prompt users to enter their login credentials.
Individuals and organizations can protect against website phishing by only entering sensitive information on trusted websites, checking the website’s URL and security certificates, and avoiding clicking links from unsolicited emails or messages.
5. Spear Phishing
At this point, most of the phishing attacks discussed have mostly been aimed at casual audiences and random people. Spear phishing is a targeted form of phishing where attackers specifically target a particular individual or organization. Unlike traditional phishing attacks that are sent to a large number of recipients, spear phishing attacks are carefully crafted to appear as if they are coming from a trusted source and are specifically designed to trick the recipient into giving away sensitive information.
This type of phishing may entail fraudulent emails claiming to be from a coworker or senior executive within an organization or fake emails claiming to be from a trusted supplier/ business partner.
It is imperative that companies can protect themselves from spear phishing by educating employees about the dangers of phishing attacks, implementing anti-phishing software and security measures, and verifying the authenticity of emails and requests before taking any action.
Another instance of high-profile phishing is whaling. Whaling is a type of spear phishing attack that specifically targets high-level executives within an organization, such as the CEO, CFO, or COO. Most people will not have to worry about this type of phishing, but for some, this can be another threat they need to look out for. The attackers use tactics such as spoofed emails or fake websites to trick the executive into giving away sensitive data or making financial transactions.
Fraudulent emails claiming to be from a government agency, fake emails from top managers, and fake calls are just a few of the ways that attacks can get to you. While this may sound similar to other phishing attacks, it should be known that this sort of attack is mostly directed at people of high value or positions at a company.
Businesses can protect against whaling by educating executives and high-level employees about the dangers of phishing attacks, implementing anti-phishing software and security measures, and verifying the authenticity of emails and requests before taking any action.
Phishing attacks are a common form of cybercrime that can target both individuals and organizations. By understanding the various types of phishing attacks and the tactics used by attackers, individuals, and organizations can take steps to protect themselves and prevent the theft of sensitive information.
This includes being cautious of unsolicited emails and messages, verifying the authenticity of requests, using anti-phishing software, and educating employees about the dangers of phishing attacks.