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10 Types of Phishing Attacks

  • Yashoda Gandhi
  • Mar 14, 2022
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In today's world, cybersecurity is at the top of everyone's to-do list. The hard lesson of high-profile data breaches is that data and personally identifiable information (PII) protection must come first. One of the most common threats to businesses is phishing.


Phishing scams are responsible for Nearly 80% of all security incidents. Because they rely on human fallibility rather than the strength of your systems, these attacks can be difficult to defend against. 


Phishing is a method of obtaining personal information by sending deceptive e-mails and visiting deceptive websites. Here's everything you need to know about this time-honored but increasingly sophisticated form of Cybercrime.



What is Phishing?


Phishing is a type of social engineering attack used to steal sensitive information from users, such as login credentials and credit card numbers. When a hacker poses as a trustworthy entity and persuades a victim to open an email, instant message, or text message, this is known as phishing.


The recipient is then duped into clicking a malicious link, which can lead to the installation of malware, the freezing of the system as part of a ransomware attack, or the disclosure of sensitive information. A successful attack has the potential to be catastrophic. Individuals are victims of unauthorized purchases, money theft, and identity theft.


Furthermore, phishing is frequently used to gain a foothold in corporate or governmental networks as part of a larger attack, such as an advanced persistent threat (APT) event. Employees are hacked in this scenario in order to get around security perimeters, distribute malware inside a secure environment, or gain privileged access to sensitive information.


Some Phishing Scams that have made Headlines


In what was arguably one of the most significant phishing attacks in history, hackers persuaded Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta to hand over his Gmail password in 2016.


The "fappening" attack, in which a number of celebrities' private photos were made public, was initially thought to be the result of a security flaw in Apple's iCloud servers, but it was actually the result of a series of successful phishing attempts.


In 2016, University of Kansas employees fell for a phishing email, giving up access to their paycheck deposit information and losing pay.


Also Read | Encrypting Viruses



What are Phishing Indicators?


What are the signs that indicate that a Phishing Attack has occured? We’ve mentioned some below :


  1. Offers that are both lucrative and eye-catching or attention-grabbing are intended to grab people's attention right away. Many people claim that you have won a prize, such as an iPhone, a lottery, or another large sum of money. 


Any suspicious emails should be ignored. Remember, if something appears to be too good to be true, it probably is!


  1. Cybercriminals frequently use the tactic of asking you to act quickly because the super deals are only available for a limited time. They may even tell you that you only have a few minutes to respond. It's best to ignore these types of emails if you come across them. 


They may inform you that your account will be suspended unless you immediately update your personal information. 


Most reputable businesses give customers plenty of notice before terminating an account, and they never ask them to update personal information over the Internet. When in doubt, go straight to the source instead of clicking a link in an email.


  1.  It's possible that a link isn't what it seems. When you hover your mouse over a link, you'll see the URL to which you'll be directed if you click it. 


It could be something completely different or a well-known website that has been misspelled, such as www.bankofarnerica.com – The 'm' is actually a combination of an 'r' and a 'n,' so it's a bit confusing.


  1. If you receive an email with an attachment you didn't expect or that makes no sense, don't open it! They frequently include payloads such as ransomware or other viruses. The only file type that is always safe to open is a.txt file.


  1. Don't click on anything that seems unusual, unexpected, out of character, or suspicious in general, whether it's from someone you know or someone you don't. 



Types of Phishing Attacks


We’ve listed some of the popular and prominent types of Phishing Attacks below : 


  1. Evil Twin Wi-Fi


A fake Wi-Fi access point that impersonates a legitimate wi-fi hotspot is created. This could happen in an airport, a coffee shop, a hospital, or anywhere else where people use Wi-Fi. 


People log into this fake wi-fi access point under the impression that they are using a legitimate hotspot, allowing criminals to intercept any data sent over this account.


  1. Phishing Email


Email phishing, which has been around since the 1990s, is the most common type of phishing. Some phishing emails are difficult to detect, especially if the language and grammar are well-crafted.


You can tell if the source is legitimate by looking for suspicious language in the email source and the link you're being directed to.


Sextortion is a type of phishing scam in which a hacker sends you an email that looks like it was sent by you. The hacker claims to have accessed your computer as well as your email account.


  1. Voice phishing


Vishing serves the same purpose as other phishing schemes. Your sensitive personal or corporate information is still being sought by the attackers. A voice call is used to carry out this attack.


A call from someone claiming to be a Microsoft representative is a common vishing attack. Your credit card information is now in the hands of the attacker, and you have most likely installed malware on your computer. It's possible that the malware contains anything from a banking Trojan to a bot (short for robot).


  1. Content Injection


Malicious content is injected into a well-known website, such as an email account login page or an online banking page. This can be a link, a form, or a pop-up that directs users to a secondary website where they are urged to verify personal information, update credit card information, and change passwords.


  1. Malware


When someone clicks on an email attachment, they unintentionally install malware that mines the computer and network for information. Keylogging is a type of malware that monitors keystrokes in order to find passwords. Another type of malware is a trojan horse, which is installed and tricks the user into entering personal information.


Also Read | Cybersecurity Threats, Attacks and its Types


  1. Link manipulation


A carefully worded email with a malicious link to a well-known website, such as Amazon or another well-known website, arrives. When people click the link, they are taken to a fake website that looks exactly like the real one, where they are asked to update or verify their account information.


  1. Spear Phishing


A flounder, bottom feeder, or piece of trash may be caught while fishing with a pole below the waterline. Spear phishing allows you to focus on a specific fish. As a result, the name. Spear phishing is a type of phishing attack that targets a specific group or type of person, such as a company's system administrator. 


An example of a spear phishing email is shown below. Take note of the special attention paid to the recipient's industry, the download link that the victim is asked to click, and the need for a quick response.


  1. Whaling


Whaling is a more specific type of phishing that targets whales, a marine animal that is even larger than a fish. The CEO, CFO, or any CXX in a specific industry or business is usually the target of these attacks. 


An email from a whaling company might say that the company is being sued and that you should click on the link to learn more. You'll be directed to a page where you'll be asked to enter sensitive information about the company, such as its tax ID and bank account numbers.


  1. Man-in-the-middle


To trick two people into sending information to each other, the criminal uses man-in-the-middle phishing. The phisher or criminal may send each party fictitious requests or alter the data sent and received. 


The participants believe they are communicating with one another and are unaware that they are being duped by a third party.


  1. Smishing


Smishing is a text messaging or short message service attack (SMS). Smishing is the delivery of a message to a cell phone via SMS that contains a clickable link or a return phone number.


A common example of a smishing attack is an SMS message that looks like it came from your bank. It alerts you to the fact that your account has been hacked and that you must respond immediately. 


The attacker wants you to confirm your bank account number, social security number, and other personal information. After receiving the information, the attacker now has control of your bank account.


Also Read | A Complete Guide to Information Security



Final Thoughts


Nobody wants to be a victim of a phishing scheme. However, there's a reason why these types of scams will continue to exist: they're profitable enough for cybercriminals to profit handsomely. Phishing scams have existed almost since the dawn of the Internet, and they aren't going away anytime soon. 


Using antivirus software is the most basic way to deal with them. It won't be able to protect you from all threats, but it will do its best. It is our responsibility to stop being ignorant and act with full awareness, or we will harm ourselves.

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