Common Phishing Attacks Used Against Businesses

phishing attacks

Hackers continue to use phishing attacks against organizations and businesses because they are very effective. Phishing acts involve the impersonation of reputable businesses or individuals via email, social media, text messages, and other mediums to steal sensitive information and money by tricking victims. Emotional pressures such as urgency and curiosity are employed to entice victims into the cybercriminals trap.

Phishing could be done to steal sensitive data, social security numbers, credit cards, and login credentials. It may also involve installing malicious applications onto the target’s computer for surveillance. The entire computer network system may also be hijacked to get ransom from victims.

The result of a successful phishing attack can range from losing customers to a business permanently shutting down.

In this article, we discuss the different types of phishing attacks that cybercriminals can use against your business.

1. Email Phishing
This is the most common form of a phishing attack as email can be easily spoofed to look legitimate. Fake links, malicious links, and attachments are included in the email. Phishing emails may inform targets that their account has been compromised and need urgent action only to redirect them to attackers-controlled domains for credential theft. It may also demand personal and financial information while impersonating banks, financial institutions, or the IRS.

Phishing emails also contain an attachment that can infect the target PC when downloaded and opened.

Sophisticated attackers can craft emails that look very much like originals to avoid detection.

2. Spear Phishing
This phishing method involves targeting a specific group or individual such as a company manager. More work is done on the part of the attackers to study their victims’ interests, calendars, and professional life for better impersonation.

Spear Phishing increases the chance of phishing success by tailoring the attack to the victim’s taste and expectations. It is usually directed against lucrative targets in positions of authority within an organization.

3. Search Engine Phishing
Many users get information about various online services via search engines. Hackers can make fraudulent websites appear on top of search results using a technique known as SEO poisoning. Unsuspecting users are then tricked into visiting the fake site.

Since many customers don’t bother inspecting the URL of search results, fake websites can be used to steal their credentials, install harmful software or collect the personal information of victims.

4. Whaling
This is a highly specific form of phishing attack that literally targets “Whales” or “big fish” in a company. It is deployed against CEOs, CFOs and other top-ranking managers within an organization.

It can be used to get the company’s bank accounts information, tax documents and financial authorization codes.

A related type of whaling is the Business Email Compromise in which hackers impersonate executives and send fraudulent instruction emails to subordinates or partner companies.

5. Smishing
Smishing attacks are carried out via SMS. But the principle is similar to email phishing. Cybercriminals send fraudulent SMS with malicious links to victims’ phones.

The links could point to fake software updates, prize winnings, or app downloads which can be used to infect the smartphone.

6. Malware Phishing
Malware links and attachments could be delivered via email and SMS. The aim is often to gain
long-term access to victims’ devices. Attackers can then control the system as they see fit.

7. Vishing
This is also known as voice vishing. Here, an attacker or a group places a call to a victim pretending to be from tech support, bank official, government ministry, or other organization. The victims are tricked into giving up sensitive information such as login details and financial data that the hackers can then use for further compromise.

8. Clone Phishing
This involves compromising a victim’s email account. The actors then modify emails in the hacked inbox by replacing attachments and adding fake links to them.

Finally, cybercriminals send the modified email to the target’s contact list which is trusted by the receiver because it originates from a known source.

9. Man-in-the-Middle Phishing
Cyber Attackers can gain control of a network by sitting in the middle. They can eavesdrop and monitor the communication of users on a compromised network.

The attackers can intercept and replace legitimate website requests. If this happens, login credentials and private data could easily be stolen or funds transferred from the victim’s account.

10. Malvertising
Digital ad networks or online advertising campaigns can be used to maliciously spread malware . The systems of unsuspecting victims who click on these type of ads are compromised.

You can defend against phishing by organizing regular training or phishing detection for employees. In addition, network filtering software should be installed to block malicious emails. Phishing attacks are getting more prolific, protect your business by being proactive with cybersecurity. Contact us today to learn more about how to keep your business safe.

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