Tech Tips

What is a phishing attack and its types?

It starts with a different question… What is cybersecurity? It’s something many small businesses need to ask themselves today. And the response must include information about the phishing. What it is, what to do about it, and how it can affect your business if you do nothing.

Phishing attacks are designed to trick you into providing sensitive information. Cybercriminals use phishing emails to impersonate credible institutions/entities. They want personal data and steal credit card information, or install malware on a computer. A targeted attack can include malicious web links to fake web pages.

What is a phishing attack?

This is a type of cyber attack designed to steal sensitive data. Phishing attempts to deceive and/or manipulate users through their computers. A phishing campaign can use email messages to set up network attacks, malware, and code injection to steal login credentials and other personal data.

Types of phishing

Phishing emails are a common problem for small businesses. But you should be aware of other types of phishing attacks that you may be a victim of.

  • Selective Phishing. This type of phishing email is directed at a specific person, company, or organization. It is disguised as a credible source but leads the user to a malicious web page. Target phishing targets include individuals or groups.
  • Phishing by email. A phishing email is an attack that tries to get people to reveal things like financial information. Beware of phrases like “Dear Account Holder” and a request for personal information. Phishing emails like these are generic.
  • Vishing. Some phishing messages are not written. Phishing messages take different forms, and vishing attack is short for voice phishing. This involves trying to trick people over the phone into giving up personal information. These messages tell the target users that there is a problem with the bank account or credit card. Remember, call the bank if you think it is a scam.
  • Whaling or Whale Phishing. These are like other attacks, but they are designed to fool C-suite users. Whaling targets high officials. It’s a kind of CEO scam where criminals pose as one of them. It usually involves a request for a financial transaction. Employee training on unsolicited contact is an important aspect of phishing education here.
  • Angle Phishing. There are many different types of phishing attacks, and this one focuses on social media. A fake web page and malicious tweets and posts persuade users to divulge data or download links to a malicious page. Beware of these fake social media posts.
  • smishing. Here criminals use text messages. SMS phishing may have an unusual area code. That is one way to detect this type of phishing content.
  • Clone phishing. This type of phishing email comes from what looks like a service you commonly use. Suspicious emails will ask for personal information that the service provider already has.
  • Water Hole Phishing. Criminals investigate the websites your employees visit, such as third-party vendors and industry news. Your staff are downloading malware when they visit these fake web addresses.

How to recognize phishing scams

A successful phishing attack happens when you don’t know what to look for. The following are some ways that you can spot phishing.

  • Bad grammar and spelling mistakes: Phishing campaigns are not effective when you detect these errors. Misspelling may be legitimate, or it may be a way to bypass filters that prevent phishing attacks. Grammatical errors top the list of red flags in phishing emails and web pages.
  • Generic greetings: Never provide account numbers online. Especially when your bank doesn’t know your name. Generic greetings from organizations you work with should alert you. A “Dear Sir” email could be an attempt to install malware.
  • Mismatched Email Domains: Reputable companies use their own email domains. Phishing emails have small errors, like microsoft, or are sent from a generic domain like Gmail. Phishing domains are a common method they use to get you to download malware. In general, you can look for malicious URLs with misspellings in the email or domain name.

How does a phishing scam work?

Phishing uses email and other forms of communication. The criminal usually poses as a legitimate company such as a bank or vendor and tries to gain access to sensitive information such as bank account numbers or administrator passwords.

Victims can be tricked into clicking a link to a phishing web page, as scams vary. Some hackers use fake social media profiles.

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