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Phishing attacks are on the rise, and they’re only going to get more sophisticated in the years to come. In this blog post, we’ll look at what phishing is, how it works, and some tips for protecting yourself against these attacks.

What Are Phishing Attacks?

A phishing attack is a form of internet fraud that targets unsuspecting users to steal their personal, financial, or login credentials. Cybercriminals use phishing attacks to gain access to your money, accounts, passwords, and anything else that might have value.

It’s important to note that anyone can be a target of an attack like this, and phishing works because people are not 100% careful all the time online.

Different Types of Phishing Attacks

There are three different kinds of phishing attacks you need to be aware of.

Spear Phishing Attacks

This type of attack is targeted at a specific person. Spear phishers know what they are doing, and their goal is to break into the systems that hold valuable information. They may target your business or financial accounts, social media profiles, or anything else they think can make their money. They’ll try to get you to click on a link or download something that will allow for easy access.

External Phishing Attacks

An external phish is a general email sent to many people at one time, hoping that enough will click the link or open the attachment for them to gain access. These are not highly targeted, but they can be very dangerous because they’re often sent to large numbers of people. External phishing attacks are usually spam-like and done in bulk.

Internal Phishing Attacks

An internal phish targets employees within a company or organization. This is often more successful than external phishing because the criminal who launched the attack has access to information about what people may be susceptible to it. Internal phishing attacks are targeted and usually go after sensitive information like login credentials and financial data.

Whaling Attacks

Whaling attacks are similar to spear phishing, but instead of targeting one person, they go after high-level people like executives and managers. These attacks can be hazardous because whalers know what they want and who is most likely to compromise their security to get it. They’ll often go after CEOs, CFOs, and other people in charge of a business.

Pharming Attacks

Pharming attacks work similarly to phishing, but instead of sending you an email with a link or attachment, farmers send you to fake sites that look like the real thing. The goal is still the same- get them to click on something they shouldn’t. Pharming is also known as domain spoofing because the site looks legitimate, but they’ve changed the domain name to something else. This type of attack is becoming more common because it’s easier to do thanks to technologies like DNS cache poisoning.

Vishing Attacks

Vishing attacks are the same as regular phishing, but they use a voice message instead of an email. These messages can come over the phone, through a text message, or any other method that’s used to contact you by phone. This is a hazardous type of attack because it’s difficult to spot people who aren’t paying close attention.

BEC Phishing Attacks

BEC phishing attacks go after people in business, finance, and other types of organizations. These are often done by people working in the accounting department. They’re similar to whaling attacks, but they target lower-level employees instead of high-ranking executives. They’ll try to trick their targets into sending them sensitive information or making unauthorized money transfers.

How Do They Work?

Phishing attacks can be run through email, phone calls, or text messages. They use a variety of attack vectors to get you to give up your credentials or cooperate with them so they can access accounts and systems. Attackers can get this information from various sources, including social media posts.

They’ll use social engineering tactics like research and pretexting to collect as much data on you as possible before they launch an attack. They may pose as someone else or hack into your accounts to grab the information they need. For example, if they want to hack your email, they’ll use your password reuse habits against you.

They then put together their phish in a way that will get you to click or open it. This could include anything from typos in the email address to social engineering tactics. They might research their target, find out about family members, and use them in the message to make it seem more authentic.

Threats of Phishing Attacks in 2022

Phishing attacks are widespread, so this is one of the risks you should always be aware of. Some of the risks associated with phishing include:

Credential Thefts

Phishing allows criminals to get sensitive information, such as passwords and SSNs. They use this information to compromise accounts and steal your money. If you give them this data through a phishing attack, they can use it against you and potentially access everything from bank accounts to social media profiles.

Fraudulent Transactions

If you’re tricked into sending money through a phishing attack, it can result in severe losses for your company. Phishers will often include instructions to wire the money or send access information for accounts that are not yours. They may also go after executive-level people who have control over sensitive operations in your company.

Identity Theft

Criminals can use your personal information to set up new accounts and make purchases using your credit card. They also might commit crimes under your names, such as traffic violations and even arrest warrants. If they’re excellent, they may be able to take over all of your accounts and cause significant damage to your life.

Ransomware

This is when your computer or device is hijacked by malicious software. It locks you out of the device and usually demands a ransom to get it unlocked. This could be in the form of cash, credit card, bitcoin transfer, or something else entirely. If a phishing attack includes a ransomware payload, it can steal all of your data and completely wreck your life.

Theft of Intellectual Property

Phishers can use their access to get intellectual property data and sell it on the black market. This means that they could be stealing everything from your customer lists to in-development products. They might also try to bribe employees in exchange for information to gain a competitive advantage.

How to Be Protected Against Them

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself against these attacks, such as:

Training Your Employees

Ensure that everyone in your company knows the signs of a phishing attack. This should include learning how to detect when one is coming and what to do when they get one. If you have regular training sessions for this, it can be very effective in preventing these attacks from occurring in your office.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Even if a criminal gets your password, they still cannot access your account without the second authentication factor. This could be a code that you enter in addition to your login credentials, or it could be something like a fingerprint scanner on your device. Make sure that you use this whenever possible and require everyone working in your company.

Using Anti-phishing Software

You can also protect yourself with anti-phishing software. This typically includes a browser extension or plugin that can detect phishing pages and warn you before you visit them. You should install it on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. It’s essential to use this on devices used for work since executives often face the most risk of a phishing attack.

Avoid Phishing Emails

The best thing you can do to protect yourself against phishing is not to click on suspicious emails. Even if they are personalized, it’s often easy to tell when an email is fraudulent. Moreover, any email that requests information or tells you to take action should be ignored entirely. Your company might have a policy about this that you should always follow.

Be Careful About Sharing Information

In addition to not clicking on links or opening attachments, you should never give out any information of this sort over email. Your company might have a policy about w.hat kind of documents can be shared through email and what has to be sent through another system. Ensure that no communication ever includes sensitive data like bank account numbers, passwords, social security numbers, or anything else that could be used for identity theft. It would be best to be careful about sharing information with people you don’t know over the phone or in a face-to-face setting, as it can often lead to data being stolen from your company.

Teamstack is a cloud identity and access management platform that enables teams to work more efficiently by streamlining collaboration. There’s no better way to manage access and security than Team stack with two-factor authentication, SSO, and self-service tools. We offer advanced reporting, auditing, and custom policies so you can set security measures to meet your business needs.

Bottomline

Phishing is one of the most popular ways hackers try to scam people and steal information, and it’s very effective. Anyone on your company’s staff or who has even a tenuous connection with you could be the first step in a successful phishing attack. They can quickly get their hands on some of your employees’ personal information and use this to access your company’s data. They can even accomplish it through an email or phone call.