Phishing is one of the most common cybersecurity threats on the internet and can have some devastating consequences, especially financial. From installing malware on an individual’s computer to extracting information, a phishing attack has several possible purposes.

Common Types Of Phishing Attacks

Spear phishing is just one of the numerous possible ways fraudsters use to trick unsuspecting individuals. There are multiple types of phishing attacks, with each of them tailored to the intended target. Understanding how an attack can look can help prepare you to detect or avoid one, saving your data and money.

●     Email Phishing

The most common type of Phishing is by Email, with individuals receiving emails from popular organizations, especially those they use. You can easily avoid email phishing by avoiding emails requiring you to click links or download attachments, especially when the email arrives suddenly. Alternatively, you can go through any emails clearly to spot any irregularities. Fake emails can only mimic legit emails, but there are still clear differences that anyone can identify.

●     Spear phishing

Spear phishing is the next most common type of phishing attack and often involves research on the attacker’s end. Much like a real-life spear attack, spear phishing attacks are targeted at individuals and can often seem to have a trustworthy origin.  Spear Phishing is a form of email phishing where the attacker usually has details of the intended victim, making them seem more legitimate. Attacks here will seem like a casual request from a co-worker or superior and often have a financial motive.

●     Whaling

Much like spear phishing, whaling usually has a financial motive and will involve details of the target to seem legitimate. The main difference here is that whaling tends to target high-level executives at companies, especially those with access to company funds.

●     Smishing and vishing

Smishing and Vishing are two sides of the same coin, phone attacks. The main difference is that smishing deals with text messages, while vishing deals with voice messages. You can receive a text message or call from a supposed bank employee with instructions. The best way to avoid either of these methods, keep all transactions on recognized platforms and ignore suspicious requests.

Preventing Phishing Attacks

Once you can identify a phishing attack, preventing it becomes simpler. There are a few common practices that can help protect you from phishing attacks, including:

●     Email Protection

The first thing you can do is to filter your email, ensuring suspicious emails are marked as spam. Alternatively, you can employ anti-phishing technology like the mitre attack framework to provide security for your email. With such technologies, you can easily detect and remove threats without worrying.

●     Cybersecurity

Antiviruses and other security software can help protect you from malware. To improve your chances of protection, ensure all cyber security software you use is up to date. An up-to-date database makes the identification of threats easier and more efficient.

●     Data Encryption

By password-protecting sensitive information, you become less susceptible to data theft. If an attacker gets access to your data, they would still need to go through encryption before accessing your data.

●     Conduct Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor identification ensures there are multiple confirmations of any sensitive processes. You are simply increasing the steps an attacker needs to go through to get sensitive information.