Last Updated on 4 months by Touhid
To protect your data privacy and personal content, keep on reading our guide to learn about Phishing is what type of attack, and how it works.
The percentage of cyberattacks worldwide is expected to increase by 15% in 2023 compared to that of 2022. Thus, concerns are serious and according to experts, it is expected that over 33 billion accounts will be breached by hackers this year. One of the main components of cyberattacks is Phishing.
Phishing Is What Type of Attack?
Before going any further with what type of attack phishing is, let us first understand what exactly is phishing and how it works.
Phishing is a type of social engineering as well as a cyberattack in which attackers use misleading approaches to trick people into disclosing sensitive information. Personal information like usernames, passwords, credit card information, bank account information, or other crucial specifics is often collected by the attackers which they can use or sell.
Simply said, phishing is a technique used by hackers to make you fall for their tricks and reveal your sensitive information like name, number, credit card details, and more.
More than 90% of cyberattacks start through phishing, so as an internet user, it is necessary you have a complete idea of how these attacks work. Knowing them beforehand can not only help you but also help your organization from incurring big financial losses.
How Does Phishing Attack Work?
Whether a phishing attack is directed at one individual in particular or many people, it invariably starts with a fake message. The attacker acts as an official company. The likelihood of tricking someone increases with how realistic the fake message appears.
Cyber attackers are using social engineering techniques in order to manipulate victim’s confidential information such as login credentials, credit card numbers, network details, and more. Phishing is the first choice of cyber attackers to grab sensitive information from victims.
Attackers are encouraged to victim’s click on vulnerable URL links or open infected attachments.
For example, an infected attachment file seems to be original and comes from trusted sources. The infected attachments can be .exe files, Microsoft Office files, and PDF documents. These types of files can install malware, ransomware, or others.
Phishing is a type of attack that has negative impacts on organizations or individuals as well as society. There are many reasons a phishing attack may conducted. Here are the main causes of phishing attacks:
- Lack of user awareness about Phishing.
- Widespread use of emails.
- Sophistication of phishing techniques.
- Don’t have security tools and techniques.
The attack style varies depending on the situation. In many instances, the hackers will hack into some of your personal information beforehand and they will write you a personalized email.
In the email, there will be some personal information that only your close friend would know. As soon as you see the email, you may think it is from your friend and you will fall into the trap of trusting the hacker.
The worst part is users who have been deceived into complying with an attacker’s requests don’t pause to consider if the demands are fair or if the source is trustworthy.
What Are The Different Types Of Phishing Attacks?
What makes phishing hard to predict is its changing pattern; phishing can be of a few different types and hackers seem to get creative, often changing attack patterns.
Usually, phishing attacks are carried out in 6 main types which we will discuss below.
1. Email Phishing
This is the most common type of phishing used by attackers to fool you into believing them. Attackers send false emails that seem to be from trustworthy sources, such as banks, social networking sites, or governmental organizations.
We have seen in most email phishing, hackers buy a domain that mimics trustworthy organizations and then use this email ID to send thousands of emails.
Phishing emails frequently use scare tactics, delusionary warning you of a security violation in your bank account. They urgently ask that you click on a link supplied to act right now. All of your personal data is in danger after you click on this link since the attackers will have immediate access to your computer.
Additionally, some phishing attempts adopt a more ominous tenor, making the email seem to have come from your own email account.
In these situations, hackers deceitfully assert that they have accessed your network and have gotten private, intimate images and videos that they claim to have captured using your camera in order to further influence and frighten victims.
So, they will ask you for money or threaten you to release these pictures and videos on the internet and send them to your friends and relatives.
Whaling is not as simple as email phishing and this is not usually intended for general people. The attacks are mostly targeted towards famous celebrities, VIPs, and people in senior management roles in large organizations.
In this type of attack, hackers do a lot of research about the targeted individual and can send you an email using a bogus tax return to make you panic.
In stress, you will often end up clicking the link with it and you will end up falling into their trap. This is just one of the whaling techniques and attackers have over 100’s of different ways of doing it.
Additionally, another common technique of whaling is when a hacker sends an email to the employee acting like the CEO addressing some money-related concerns.
This email will usually direct the associated employee to do a bank transfer of a certain amount. Thinking that the email is from the CEO, the employees end up doing the bank transfer to the hacker’s account.
3. Spear Phishing
Spear phishing is much more complicated than regular phishing. In this more focused type of phishing, the attacker targets certain people or organizations with their emails.
To make their emails appear more believable, they could acquire details about the target from social media or other sources. So, in this type of phishing hacker will send you an email making it look like it is from a very trusted source of your company.
These emails are designed and written in such a way that you are bound to trust the email and click the link with it.
Smishing is another type of phishing that uses text messages instead of emails. The main goal is the same as email phishing but the link is sent as a text message directly to your phone.
Smishing attacks sometimes feature fraudulent text messages that pretend to be from your bank. According to the alert, your account is in danger, and you need to act immediately.
Once you provide sensitive information, such as your SSN, the attacker has this information and then they can access your bank account without your permission.
Vishing and smishing can seem the same due to their similarity in name but Vishing is different in the sense that you will get a fake scam call instead of a text.
In this type of vishing, you will get a call; it can be either an automated call or a direct call. The way they will talk in the call, it will seem like it is from a trusted source.
Over the call, they can make it sound like it’s from your bank and will ask you for your credentials (which real banks never do). They can also give you some alluring offers like you won a lottery and will ask you for private information to transfer the money to your account.
6. Angler or Social media phishing
Angler or social media phishing is the last type of phishing cyberattackers perform and is a relatively new type of attack. The concept of phishing is the same here as other methods where users are directed to malicious links.
There are a few common ways this is done like you can see a post on social media where you see a tempting offer. But, as soon as you click on the offer you are redirected to any malicious site that hacks your personal information.
You can also see links to spoofed websites that look like the real deal but are actually designed to hack your confidential information.
These are the 6 most common ways phishing is done but hackers are trying to innovate more and more ideas making it very difficult to detect them.
How To Recognize Phishing Attacks?
Even though sometimes it becomes very hard to detect phishing attacks, there are a few common techniques that you can use to understand this.
1. Check the email of the sender
As hackers try to buy a domain that looks closer to the original one, carefully check the spelling of the domain. The email will contain certain misspellings when compared to the original domain it was trying to imitate.
2. Avoid opening attachments
Do not rush into opening attachments on emails or text messages as soon as you receive it. Check if the source is trusted and only then open links, otherwise avoid opening attachments from unknown sources.
3. Never share your banking details
Real banks or financial organizations will never ask for your SSN or passwords over the phone or email. So, never share them with anyone in any instances.
4. Do not blindly trust caller ID
When vishing, hackers can use various software to make the caller ID seem like a legitimate one. So, always cross-check the ID before sharing any sensitive information.
4. Verify SSL Certificates
Verify the SSL certificate’s validity on websites. Check for the URL starting with “https://” and the padlock icon in the address bar.
Tips And Tricks To Protect Yourself From Phishing
If you wish to protect yourself from phishing, you need to be very careful while opening unknown links. Other than that follow these tips below to learn more about phishing prevention and have a more secure experience while using the internet.
- Always use multi-factor authentication in your social media and online banking accounts.
- Avoid sharing any sensitive data on email.
- Always keep your operating system up to date.
- Never share your email, social media, or banking passwords with anyone.
- Enter your personal information only on secure websites.
- Delete suspicious emails and do not click on malicious links.
- Never provide your personal Information on untrusted websites.
- Check the correctness of the sender’s email addresses.
- Use Antivirus software.
- Install an Anti-Phishing Toolbar.
- Use Web Application Firewall
- Arrange Cyber security training and workshop.
- Prepare security policy and deployment.
- If you receive texts with links from unknown sources, call the number to verify before opening the link.
Phishing can be easier to detect if you have proper knowledge about how it works. So, if you still have some questions regarding that keep on reading our FAQs below.
Are Phishing attacks dangerous?
Phishing is a type of cyberattack that can be of 6 different types. Regardless of the type, all phishing attacks can be quite risky for both individuals and organizations. These attacks can often cause a huge financial loss by hacking into your bank account and stealing money from it.
Can I use any software to prevent phishing?
Yes, there are many different software available nowadays that you can use to prevent email phishing. This software keeps a close monitor on your email and tries to filter out any email phishing attachments and sends them to the user with a warning of potential cyberattack.
Should I report phishing emails?
Reporting phishing emails can ensure not just your protection from it but also for people in general. All email providers have the option to report phishing emails; this will also prevent this user from sending any further phishing emails to you. Also, you can report this to the Anti Phishing Working Group.
Cyberattacks are a rising concern in this new era where communication is highly dependent on the internet and technology. Never open any links from an unknown source and avoid sharing your passwords with anyone. Also do not log into your personal banking accounts, email, or social media from any public computers.
Hence, to keep yourself protected you need complete knowledge about Phishing is what type of attacks, and how to protect from phishing attack.
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