phishing, email phishing
Malware | Privacy Concerns

12 types of Phishing and how to avoid them

Email Phishing is one of the more popular tactics that cybercriminals employ to gain access to your private accounts. When cybercriminals email you, they pretend to be someone they are not to get valuable information from you. 

One way email phishing scams work is by impersonating a well-known company email address or official email address of an organization. The email usually conveys urgency and requests personal or financial information.

If you haven’t heard of phishing yet, it’s most likely because you’re unfamiliar with the term.

To better understand email phishing, let’s define phishing.

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information from you, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card information, and more.

This is accomplished by impersonating a trustworthy entity, such as your bank or workplace.

Phishing is frequently carried out using emails. In order to entice recipients to visit an illegitimate website in the hopes of obtaining personal and financial information.

Assume the attacker is successful in convincing you to open the email and provide your critical personal information. If that’s the case, you could face significant security and privacy concerns.

There are different types of phishing.

Email Phishing:

Email Phishing is a type of fraud in which thousands of people are sent phishing emails with a phony domain and website that appears to be legitimate. This is in order to obtain personal information.

Spear Phishing:

Spear phishing is a type of email phishing in which the attacker targets or has access to some information about a specific person or group of people. This is usually done through email but can also be done through social media.

They send specific messages to specific people in the hopes of gaining more access to that person’s precious data.

This data may include their names, addresses, passwords, phone numbers, or more personal information (such as employment information or credit card numbers).

If the criminal has these details, he or she has a higher chance of successfully tricking the victim.

Session Hijacking:

Session hijacking is a type of phishing that occurs when an attacker takes over an existing conversation/connection between two parties.

They can occur in many different ways. Session hijackers may send spoofed packets to both parties in the communication.

This can cause the two parties to lose their connection with each other, or it can allow the hijacker to intercept and read the communication.

Session hijacking can also occur when an attacker exploits a vulnerability in the protocol being used. For example, if an attacker knows that HTTP cookies are not encrypted, they may be able to steal a user’s authentication cookie.

Furthermore, they can exploit poor key management (for example, using the same session token for many servers), system/configuration flaws (e.g., default settings, misconfigurations, etc.), and other implementation-specific attacks to their advantage.

Pharming Phishing:

Another kind of phishing is pharming, which involves redirecting users to fraudulent websites or servers, usually through DNS hijacking.

DNSChanger is a piece of software that allows attackers to change the records of a domain name system, which are used to convert human-readable website names into computer-readable addresses.

So, when a user types in the website address for their bank, they might be redirected to a fake, malicious website where they can be exposed to identity theft.

Blast phishing:

This type of phishing attack is usually sent in a large volume of emails to as many people as possible. The goal is for someone to open an email that appears convincing but is really a trap.

When the user opens the email, they may be prompted to log in, giving access to their login information.

These types of phishing attacks are quite common. The sheer volume of emails can make it challenging to deal with each one manually.

Cloud-based automated security software is the most effective approach to defend against these attacks since it can work around the clock to identify and alert malicious content.

Evil twin phishing:

This is a type of phishing scam in which criminals set up a fake network or hotspot to trick users into connecting to it. Phishing emails are sent out that resemble other known entities, such as a bank or credit card company or the user’s ISP. (Internet Service Provider).

When the victim connects to an evil twin network, he provides his personal information to the network, believing that he is providing it to the corporation.

In this case, an attacker can use a private key to decrypt all traffic between them and the end-user through an encrypted channel. 

By using a valid digital certificate, a user may be led to believe they are talking with an entity. However, this makes certificate pinning such a powerful tool against man-in-the-middle attacks; it prevents the app from connecting if the server does not have the certificate.

Whaling / CEO Fraud:

This type of phishing attack targets high-profile individuals or those in more powerful positions. (For example, a major company’s senior manager.)

It’s very similar to spear phishing, but on a larger scale.

However, minor details are meticulously noted, and the emails appear to be completely genuine, making it nearly impossible for others to tell the difference.

It is mainly used to access credit/financial accounts and commits identity theft.

Vishing:

Vishing is a type of phishing attack that uses phone numbers. Instead of communicating through email.

Visher’s try to convince their victims that they are someone else (usually someone who has legitimate access to certain information). They try to get the victim to give up information through voice, mainly over the phone.

The most prevalent vishing scenario involves a criminal posing as an investigator on the phone and informing victims of a fictitious account breach.

Consumers are then asked to provide OTPs (One Time Password) or sensitive information like credit card numbers to safeguard their accounts.

Malvertising phishing:

Malvertising phishing is also known as Pop-up phishing. It consists of displaying an ad from a malicious source rather than from the website itself.

The wrongdoer is able to display whatever content they desire in the ad, usually disguising it as a legitimate one.

When a visitor clicks on the ad, they are redirected to a site that may appear legitimate or benign but will actually be serving up malware.

The key to protection against malvertising phishing is awareness and education.

A user cannot click on a link they do not know about, so keeping them up-to-date with current scams is key. If you have employees, have your IT department create policies for web browsing at work and implement software that can filter out or stop malicious links from being clicked.

In the case of malvertising phishing, it is a lot easier to prevent a click than to chase down a culprit after the fact.

A diverse and well-trained IT department is your greatest defense against malvertising phishing. If they are able to recognize schemes before they happen, you could save not only money but also reputation and productivity if the downtime was prevented. This is in addition to potential legal issues such as fines and compliance violations.

Your company should also utilize enterprise malware protection (EMP) solutions that include antimalware scanning on emails and web traffic. These systems use advanced threat detection techniques that can identify malicious links within emails or web pages.

This type of security solution will block access to any malicious website and search engine, stopping users from accidentally clicking through banner ads wherever they may be.

Malvertising phishing is a serious threat to businesses and individuals. Ensure that your employees and IT department are on the lookout for these types of threats and know how to respond if they encounter them. With an effective defense plan in place, you can protect yourself from the dangers of malvertising phishing as well as other forms of cybercrime.

Smishing:

Smishing is a form of phishing that uses text messaging. It’s similar to vishing, but on a lesser scale. Text messages are used by smishers to persuade their victims to provide personal information.

The messages may include a link to a fake website or an attachment that, when opened, installs malware on the victim’s device.

Smishing is often used to steal login credentials for online banking and other financial accounts. But it can also be used to obtain other sensitive information, such as social security numbers and credit card numbers.

To protect yourself from smishing attacks, always be suspicious of unsolicited text messages, even if they appear to come from a friend or relative.

Do not open any attachments or click on any links in suspicious messages. And never provide your personal information in response to a text message.

If you think you may have been targeted by a smishing attack, report it to your bank or credit card company.

Watering hole phishing:

A watering hole attack is an attack designed to compromise a shared resource. 

The attackers identify some popular websites used by the organization and compromise those sites. These attacks are commonly used to gain access to visitors of these sites for use in further attacks or selling on the black market.

For example, the watering hole sites may be the websites belonging to the HR department of the target organization. By compromising this site, they can gain access to users’ usernames and passwords which are used for further attacks.

Another example of a watering hole attack was on Facebook in October 2013. The attackers compromised the Adobe Flash player on the adobe.com website and inserted malware into it. This software then got downloaded by users of Facebook, resulting in many users getting infected with malware.

Facebook has a known list of malicious domains and IP addresses. Therefore, they can monitor HTTP traffic for this specific list of sites and flag suspicious activity leading to an attack.

Pro tips: Be aware that your organization’s web resources could be targeted, so ensure security measures are taken on these sites too (e.g. firewalls). Monitoring logs for any evidence of suspicious activity on these sites would also help mitigate the damage if an attack occurred.

Man-in-the-middle:

Man-in-the-middle attacks involve a third party intercepting communications between two parties in order to gain access to the information being transmitted. This can be done by either eavesdropping on the communication or inserting themselves into the conversation as a “man-in-the-middle”.

The potential impacts of this catastrophe are extensive, ranging from a financial standpoint to your personal life. For example, the intruder may obtain access to your bank accounts and social media profiles, read personal and professional communications, and cause other issues.

The most frequent email hijacking approach is when the attacker sends a phishing email with a URL redirecting you to a fake login page. The credentials entered on the false login page are taken by the criminal, who then uses them to take over your email.

Email hijacking is a form of man-in-the-middle attack that specifically targets email communications. Email hijacking can be used to gain access to confidential information or to steal identities. Malicious attachments are also frequently used to execute email hijacking. 

Email snooping is a form of man-in-the-middle attack that is used to spy on email communications. It is typically used on a system that an attacker has already compromised. This can happen if someone gains access to a networked computer or hacks into a networked computer. They can easily access the email server that handles email.

In most cases, email snooping is used for data theft and industrial espionage purposes by individuals, groups, or organizations with malicious intent.

Tackling email snooping can be difficult depending on what information you are trying to protect and how it needs protecting.

Conclusion:

Phishing is a massive threat to your online security and should be protected against at all costs. Your personal information could be in the hands of cybercriminals with just one wrong click.

The simplest method to avoid becoming a victim of email phishing is to stop opening emails from unknown senders. In addition, avoid clicking on any links sent to you through email, even if the sender is a friend or colleague. 

You can also protect your personal information by using strong passwords that are unique for every account and device you use.

Never reusing old passwords, constantly changing them after each login session (even those where no one else has access), and enabling two-factor authentication as an extra layer of protection wherever possible.

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