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Definition of spear phishing

Spear phishing is an attempt to steal sensitive information, such as account or financial information, from a particular victim, often for malicious reasons. This is achieved by collecting the following personal information from the victim: For example, friends, hometowns, employers, frequent visits, and recent online purchases. The attacker then impersonates a trusted friend or entity to obtain sensitive information, usually via email or other online messaging. This is the most successful form of retrieving sensitive information on the Internet, accounting for 91% of attacks.

Spear phishing vs. Phishing

Spear phishing is similar to phishing since they are both online attacks on users with goal to acquire confidential personal information. Phishing is a broader term for any attempt to trick victims into sharing sensitive information. The attackers often portrait themselves as a trustworthy entity and make contact with their vicitim via email, social media, phone calls ( “vishing” for voicephishing), and even text messages ( “smishing” for SMSphishing).

Unlike spear phishing attacks, phishing attacks are not personalized to their victims, and are usually sent to masses of people at the same time. The goal of phishing attacks is to send a fraudental email (or other communication) that looks as if it is from an authentic organization to a large number of people, with aim that someone will open that link and will provide confidential or personal information or download malware. Spear phishing attacks target a specific victim, and the message specifically targets that victim, claims to be from an entity they are familiar with, and is modified to include personal information. Spearfishing requires more thought and time than fishing. Spear phishing attackers try to obtain as much personal information about the victim as possible in order to make the emails they send appear legitimate and to increase their chances of deceiving the recipient. Due to the personal nature of these emails, identifying spear phishing attacks is more difficult than identifying large-scale phishing attacks. For this reason, spear phishing attacks are becoming more common.

How does spearfishing work?

The process of spear phishing may sound simple, but spear phishing email has improved in recent years, making it very difficult to detect without prior knowledge of spear phishing protection. Spear phishing attackers target victims who post personal information online. You can view individual profiles while scanning social network websites. From one profile, you can find all posts about your email address, friends list, geographic location, and new gadgets you recently purchased. All this information can be used by an attacker to impersonate a friend or trusted person and send a compelling but deceptive message to the target.

To increase success rates, these messages often contain urgent explanations as to why sensitive information is needed. Victims are advised to open malicious attachments or click links that take them to fake websites and ask them to provide their password, bank account number, PIN, and access code. increase. An attacker disguised as a friend can request a username and password for various websites such as Facebook to gain access to posted photos. In reality, an attacker can use this password or its variations to access various websites that contain sensitive information such as credit card details and social security numbers. Once the criminal has collected enough sensitive information, he can access his bank account and use the victim’s information to create a new ID. Spear phishing can also entice users to download malware or malicious code after clicking a link or opening an attachment in a message.

6 Tips for Avoiding Spearfishing Attacks

  1. Please be aware of the personal information you post online. Check your online profile. How much personal information can a potential attacker use? If you don’t want to show anything to potential scammers, don’t post. At the very least, make sure you have configured your privacy settings to limit what others can see.

  2. Use smart passwords: Do not use only one password or different passwords for each account you own. Reusing passwords or password variations means that if an attacker can access one of your passwords, the attacker can access virtually any account. Every password you have must be different from the others-passwords with random phrases, numbers and letters are the most secure.

  3. Update your software frequently: If your software provider informs you that there are new updates, please update immediately. Most software systems come with security software updates designed to protect users from common attacks. If possible, enable automatic software updates.

  4. Please do not click the link in the email. If your bank or other organization sends you a link, instead of clicking on the link itself, launch your browser and go directly to your bank’s website. You can also check the link destination by hovering the mouse over the link destination of the link. If the URL does not match th anchor text of the link or the recipient in the email, it may be malicious.

  5. Many spear phishing attackers attempt to spoof link targets with anchor text that looks like legitimate URLs. It’s logical to open an email: If you receive an email from a “friend” who asks for personal information, including a password, make sure that the email address is the one you used in the past. .. The actual company does not send an email asking for a username or password. Your best bet is to contact that “friend” or company outside your email address, or visit the company’s official website to see if this is really the party who contacted you.

  6. Implement a data protection program in your organization: A data protection program that combines user training on data security best practices with implementing a data protection solution helps prevent data loss from spear phishing attacks. Medium to large enterprises need to install data loss prevention software to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access and leakage, even if a user is involved in a phishing scam.