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How to Recognize Phishing Attempts

To reduce the number of effective phishing attempts, you must know how to recognize smishing, spear, whale, and other types of phishing. Luckily, this can be done with a little education. You can also download training resources for your team. These are available through managed IT/security vendors and IT consultants. The SANS Institute has a free newsletter that you can sign up for. Small firms, especially, are targets of scammers. KnowB4 is one of the organizations that sends fake phishing emails to its members.


How do you know if a text message is a phishing attempt? Most of us are aware of the dangers of email fraud, such as emails with generic messages and a lack of personal message. But many people still tend to think that smartphones are more secure than computers and are immune to smishing attempts. The truth is that smartphone security has its limitations, and smishing schemes require a lapse in judgment and a bit of trust. And since these attacks are so common, you can be targeted even if you have a smartphone or other mobile device with text messaging capabilities.

Smishing scammers send fraudulent messages masquerading as government agencies or businesses. The aim is to trick you into clicking on malicious links or downloading malicious software. Because of this, your mobile device should be secured. If you see any suspicious text messages, forward them to your mobile phone carrier. This way, your carrier will identify them and limit their use of your phone. Hackers use cutting-edge technology to steal information and evade law enforcement. They use these messages to lure users into typing in personal information.

Spear phishing

While spear phishing attacks are not new, the pace of these attacks is accelerating. In Q1 2020, over 100,000 remote workers were targeted in spear phishing attempts. As the popularity of working from home increases, the number of spear phishing attacks is increasing as well. Many people don’t realize that home offices are much less secure than traditional office space. Legacy routers, VPNs, and other vulnerabilities make them vulnerable to attack. Third-party cloud channels lack dedicated protection, and they are often leveraged in vulnerable WFH scenarios.

One of the key characteristics of spear phishing attacks is the personalization of the attack. In order to target specific users, attackers gather information about their targets and craft personalized messages. The messages look genuine and request direct email responses. However, the message contains malicious links or attachments that will infect the target’s device with malware. Some spear phishing attempts even attempt to collect sensitive personal information by tricking the victim into sending money.

Whale phishing

In order to recognize whale phishing attempts, you need to be familiar with the basics. The email addresses used by whale impersonators are convincing and often appear to come from a legitimate source. When you receive an email requesting money or sensitive information, it may be a phishing attempt. If you’ve ever received an email that seems suspicious, don’t panic – these attempts are very common.

Companies can protect themselves from these attacks by adopting policies that restrict access to personal data. High-level managers, for instance, need to be more careful when they post their thoughts on social media, since they can be targets of whaling phishing attacks. Additionally, the company’s culture should be consistent and uphold the principle of data privacy. A Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) can help organizations foster a culture of data privacy, and guide the leadership team in complying with the diverse global regulatory landscape.

Other forms of phishing

In addition to email phishing, you must recognize other forms of phishing. In domain spoofing, an attacker forges a domain and makes a website appear to be a legitimate company. In email phishing, the attacker sends an illegitimate email requesting personal information or login credentials. Another type of phishing is search engine phishing, in which an attacker builds a website that mimics a legitimate site and asks site visitors to download malware or provide personal information.

URL hiding and link manipulation are other forms of phishing. These attacks impersonate a website or a government entity to gain sensitive information from their victims. In a classic example of phishing, a malicious URL can appear to link to a legitimate website or webpage while actually pointing to an untrusted resource. Link shortening services hide the location of shortened URLs, so victims have no idea where they are being redirected to.

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