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phishing attack

Decoded: Phishing Attack And Its Types!

In the tech world, hackers are constantly looking for newer ways to attack your data and steal it. Well, one such way is a phishing attack. In simpler terms, a phishing attack uses e-mail as a weapon to steal your data. If you see the literal meaning of the word, phishing – it means an angler throwing a baited hook to capture fish, hoping that it would bite. In the tech world, the angler is the hacker, and that fish is ‘you’. 

The goal of phishing is to trick the e-mail recipient –  an urgent request from their bank or to download an important attachment. Most people fall into the trap of a phishing attack as the hackers masquerade as a trusted identity or a credible source. Since phishing is quite an old method of cyberattacks, dating back to the 1990s – the phishing attack is becoming more and more sophisticated, making it more challenging to identify one!

The attacks have become so horrifying that the recipient can even lead the victim to install malware, which can freeze the system as a part of a ransomware attack, giving all the sensitive information in the hands of hackers. In fact, a phishing attack is not only limited to an individual. As part of a more powerful attack, the hackers can also target big corporate organizations to hold a foothold by stealing all the essential information. Any organization that falls to the prey of a phishing attack might suffer severe financial losses, reputation, consumer trust and declining market share. 

Types of Phishing Attacks

There are a variety of techniques that fall under the umbrella of a phishing attack, but these are the most common ones:

Download malware

These types of phishing e-mails aim to infect the recipient’s computer with malware. It’s quite challenging to track phishing e-mail since they are soft-targeted, for example – in the form of a job seeker’s resume.

Whaling

Whaling basically means targeting a big fish in the market like a CEO of a company or any other high-value target. Though targeting them can be quite challenging, the return is usually very high for hackers. 

Spearfishing

Spearfishing is when the hacker target a particular individual rather than a company. Phishers target the victim by sending them messages that they think might be coming possibly from co-workers. For example, a hacker can target someone from the finance department pretending as a manager to request a large bank transfer. 

Handing over sensitive information

As the name suggests, in this type of phishing attack, the victim is tricked by the hacker to reveal sensitive information like passwords or usernames through which the attacker can breach the account or system of the victim. 

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