Phishing emails are a common way for cybercriminals to attempt to steal your personal information. These emails often appear from a legitimate source, such as your bank or email provider, and can contain links or attachments that may download malware onto your computer.
One common indicator of a phishing email is an incorrect sender address. For example, if you receive an email from “[email protected],” but the actual sender address is “[email protected],” this may be a sign that the email is not genuine.
Other indicators include poor grammar and spelling mistakes, unexpected attachments, and links that do not match the website URL they claim to lead to.
If you suspect an email may be a phishing attempt, do not open attachments or click any links. Instead, delete the email and report it to the company or website it claims to be from. You can also report phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
What Does Phishing Mean?
Phishing is a type of online fraud that has been increasing in recent years. Phishing comes from the analogy of using bait to catch a fish. In the same way, scammers use tempting emails or offer to lure users into revealing their personal information.
Phishing can take many forms, but all phishing attempts have one goal: stealing personal information. One common type of phishing email pretends to be from a reputable company, such as a bank or online retailer.
The email will often contain urgent language or a sense of urgency, asking the recipient to click on a link or update their information.
If the recipient takes the bait and clicks on the link, they will be taken to a fake website that looks almost identical to the real thing. Once on this website, the user is prompted to enter sensitive information, such as their username and password.
Once this information is entered, it is sent straight to the criminals behind the phishing attempt. Another common type of phishing is called spear phishing. This involves targeted attacks aimed at specific individuals or groups of people.
For example, an employee in a company might receive an email that appears to be from their boss, asking them to click on a link or download an attachment.
If the employee falls for the scam, they may unwittingly provide confidential information or give criminals access to the company network.
Phishing attacks can be difficult to spot, but there are some warning signs that you can look out for. These include unexpected requests for personal information, poor grammar and spelling in emails, and links that go to strange or unexpected places.
If you ever receive an email that raises any red flags, it’s best not to take any chances – just delete it!
Different Types of Phishing Attacks
While the internet has made it easier to connect with friends and family worldwide, it has also created new opportunities for criminals. Phishing is one of the most common online scams and comes in many forms.
Hackers use different types of phishing depending on their intended target and the quality of data they hope to exfiltrate. The 17 major types of phishing attacks are:
Widely considered among the most common forms of phishing, deceptive phishing involves the hacker sending emails disguised as a legitimate company or organization to solicit a target’s sensitive personal information.
For example, a hacker may send an email that appears to be from a well-known online retailer, offering a discount on a purchase. However, clicking on the link in the email takes the unsuspecting victim to a fake website, where they are prompted to enter their credit card information or other sensitive data.
This type of phishing can be difficult to spot, as hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ability to mimic legitimate websites and emails.
This is one of the more precise phishing types. Spear phishing incorporates the target’s specific personal information into fraudulent emails, including their name, organization, supervisor name, and any other information that might suggest a legitimate connection with the sender.
This attack is often used by hackers targeting a specific individual or organization, as it can make even skeptical users lower their guard. In addition to stealing sensitive data, spear phishing attacks can also be used to install malware on a target’s computer or spread false information about a person or company.
Whaling attacks are similar to spear phishing attacks but target high-profile individuals such as CEOs, politicians, and celebrities. Like spear phishers, whale attackers do their homework ahead of time to create targeted emails that appear to come from a trusted source.
These attacks can be particularly damaging, as hackers can use stolen data to blackmail victims or sabotage their businesses or careers.
Smishing is a phishing attack that uses text messages instead of email. Hackers will send SMS messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or government agency.
The message may include a sense of urgency, informing the recipient that their account has been compromised or that they need to take action to avoid some negative consequence. Clicking on the link in the text message takes victims to a fake website designed to steal their personal information or infect their device with malware.
As mobile devices become increasingly commonplace, smishing attacks will likely become more common.
Vishing is another type of phishing that uses voice communications instead of email or text messages. In a vishing attack, the hacker will call the victim and pretend to be from a legitimate organization, such as a bank or government agency.
The caller may claim that there is some problem with the victim’s account or that they must take action to avoid a negative consequence. They will then try to get the victim to divulge sensitive information or transfer money to a fraudulent account.
Angler phishing is spear phishing in which the attacker poses as a customer service representative from a legitimate company. The attacker will contact the victim, usually by email, and claim to be investigating a problem with their account.
They will then ask the victim to provide sensitive information or login credentials to “verify” their account. Once the attacker has this information, they can use it to access the victim’s accounts or commit fraud.
Pharming is a phishing attack involving redirecting victims to a fake website, even if they enter the correct URL into their browser. This can be done by infecting a victim’s computer with malware that modifies the host file or by DNS poisoning, which modifies the DNS records for a website.
When victims visit a legitimate website, they are taken to a fake site, where they may be asked to enter sensitive information or download malware.
HTTPS Phishing is a phishing attack that uses fake SSL certificates to make a website appear legitimate. In an HTTPS phishing attack, the attacker will create a fake website that uses a valid SSL certificate.
This makes the site appear in the browser as if it is secure, even though it is not. Victims may be asked to enter sensitive information or download malware when they visit the site. HTTPS phishing is a particularly effective attack, as it can be difficult for users to differentiate between a legitimate site and a fake one.
Clickjacking is a phishing attack that tricks victims into clicking on a link or button that they think will take them to one website instead of another. In a clickjacking attack, the attacker will create a fake page that contains a button or link that appears to go to a legitimate website.
When victims click the button or link, they are taken to a different, usually malicious, site. Clickjacking attacks can trick victims into clicking on links that download malware or take them to phishing websites.
Typosquatting is a phishing attack that uses misspellings or typos of legitimate websites to trick victims into visiting fake websites. In a typosquatting attack, the attacker will register domain names similar to popular website names but with slight misspellings.
Victims visiting a legitimate website may end up on the attacker’s fake site. Typosquatting attacks can trick victims into visiting phishing websites or downloading malware.
Watering Hole Phishing
Watering hole phishing is a type of phishing attack that targets a specific group of people by infecting websites they are known to visit. In a watering hole attack, the attacker will infect a website with malware or create a fake website that looks like a legitimate site.
When victims visit the site, they may be infected with malware or redirected to a phishing website. Watering hole attacks are often used to target specific organizations or groups of people.
Clone phishing is an attack that uses a legitimate email or message previously sent to the victim and replaces the attachment or link with a malicious one. In a clone phishing attack, the attacker will first obtain a copy of a legitimate email or message sent to the victim.
They will then replace the attachment or link in the message with a malicious one. The attacker will then send the cloned message to the victim, pretending to be the original sender. When victims click on the attachment or link, they may be taken to a phishing website or have malware downloaded onto their computer.
Social engineering is a phishing attack that relies on human interaction to trick victims into doing something they would not normally do. In a social engineering attack, the attacker will use psychological manipulation to get the victim to do something they want, such as clicking on a link, opening an attachment, or giving out sensitive information.
Social engineering attacks can be very difficult to defend against, as they often exploit human nature.
Man-in-the-Middle (MTM) Attack
Man-in-the-Middle (MTM) Attack is a phishing attack that intercepts communication between two parties. In an MTM attack, the attacker will position themselves between the victim and the legitimate party, intercepting the communication between them.
The attacker can then use this intercepted communication to trick the victim into doing something, such as clicking on a link, opening an attachment, or giving out sensitive information. MTM attacks can be very difficult to defend against, as they often exploit victims’ trust in the legitimate party.
Pop-up phishing is an attack that uses pop-up windows to trick victims into clicking on links or downloading malware. In a pop-up phishing attack, the attacker will create a fake website that looks like a legitimate site.
When victims visit the site, they will see a pop-up window that contains a button or link. When victims click on the button or link, they may be taken to a phishing website or have malware downloaded onto their computer.
Pop-up phishing attacks can be very difficult to defend against, as they often exploit victims’ trust in the legitimate site.
Domain spoofing is a phishing attack that uses a fake email address to trick victims into clicking on links or downloading malware. In a domain spoofing attack, the attacker will create a fake email address that looks like the address of a legitimate site.
When victims receive an email from the spoofed address, they may be tricked into clicking on a link or attachment that contains malware. Domain spoofing attacks can be difficult to defend against, as they often exploit victims’ trust in the legitimate site.
Search Engine Phishing
Search engine phishing is an attack that uses fake search results to trick victims into clicking on links or downloading malware. In a search engine phishing attack, the attacker will create a fake website that looks like a legitimate site.
When victims search for a legitimate site, they may see the fake site in the search results. When victims click on the fake site, they may be taken to a phishing website or have malware downloaded onto their computer.
Search engine phishing attacks can be difficult to defend against, as they often exploit victims’ trust in the legitimate site.
Phishing attacks are a serious threat to both individuals and organizations. Phishing attacks can be difficult to defend against, as they often exploit human nature.
There are various types of phishing attacks, each with its unique characteristics. To protect yourself from phishing attacks, it is important to be aware of the different types of attacks and to be suspicious of any email, website, or attachment that you are not expecting.
If you are unsure about a website or email, you can always contact the company or person directly to verify its legitimacy.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope it helped provide you with information about phishing attacks. Stay safe out there!
Do you have any questions or comments? Please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you!