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What are the different types of phishing attacks

Most of us receive a lot to spam mails everyday. Sometimes even it is hard to determine the legitimate emails from spam. If you open your spam box, you may see emails like you won 1 billion dolour lottery, buy a car at an exciting price, and a lot of property advertisements. To tell you the truth, all spam emails are not phishing emails. Confused? Let us tell you the main difference between spam and phish emails. Both spam and phish are related to social engineering. In general, regular, repeated advertisements, unwanted junk emails sent to a large number of recipients in order to sell their product or do marketing are mostly considered as spam. But, in the case of phish, phishing is considered as a form of a cyber attack. Phish emails are created by cybercriminals to deceive the people into stealing confidential information like passwords, credit card information, and personal information. Let’s keep spamming aside and carry out our journey with phishing in this article. This post mainly covers what is phishing, types of phishing attacks, and simple countermeasures to counter the phishing attack. 

What Is Phishing? 

This is the most favourite attack-type of hackers. Because this attack doesn’t demand high technical knowledge, attackers can crack the password just tricking the user into revealing the credentials. 

How Does It Work?

To tell how does it work, attacker send spoofed emails that look like they originated from a genuine source composed of malicious website or attachment to a large number of random people. When the user sees the email with a fake web link, which says to reset their password, he/she visit the link and supplies the credentials by submitting his/her username and password on the cloned web site believing the site is genuine. This gives the cybercriminal to receives the supplied data.

Types Of Phishing Attacks:

Attackers use five phishing techniques to steal personal information form the user. 

1. Phishing: 

Phishing is the practice of using fraudulent emails to steal the credentials, credit card, bank account information to commit identity theft. In this type of attack, attackers target a large group of random people with spoofed emails which looks like they originated from a genuine source. This is the most common type of phishing attack seen in general. To give you an example: emails such as, ask to fund orphanages, treat cancer patients, Donate non-profitable organizations.

2. Spear Phishing:

This is the most common type of phishing attack seen by working professionals. Spear Phishing refers to the targeted attack against specific sectors such as financial organizations to gain unauthorized access to the network to steal business-critical information. In this type of attack uses malicious attachments and web links to compromise the computers. For example, email offers free training programs, corporate offerings, Investment guidance, reset account passwords, and even more.

3. Vishing:

This type of phishing attack is commonly referred to as voice phishing. The idea is the same as phishing, but, instead of emails, voice calls are used to trick the user into stealing personal confidential information. Common tricks are like, and someone pretends to be an official from a legitimate organization and trick the user into sharing the confidential information like meeting information, organization structures. 

4. Smishing:

Smishing uses ‘small messaging service’ in short SMS, commonly known as text messaging. Here the scam involves a fake text message to deliver malicious web links, leading to identity theft. Sometimes it downloads malicious files on to your smartphone, which would give your phone’s access to the hacker.

5. Whaling:

This is the subform of spear phishing in this attack attacker targets the key persons of the organization to steal the information of the organization’s ambitious projects, business secrets and more of such things.

How You Can Protect From Phishing Attacks?

Study says, these days, it’s not just phishing attacks are getting increased by passing days. But also it is getting more sophisticated no matter how much you prepared. Sometimes attacker takes you to your knees. Don’t worry so much, and we will tell you some techniques that would always take edge over any phishing attacks.

1. Self Education:

Awareness always stands out in the first and foremost layer of defiance. Because it is more of a social engineering attack, in such attacks attacker would play with your mind to trick you expose your confidential details. We want to present you a list of points as best practices.

  1. Use good spam filters if you can afford.
  2. Don’t click on the unknown links shared to you over emails from unknown users.
  3. Don’t download any programs, scripts, documents, and attachments from an unknown source.
  4. Be aware of fake sites. Give some attention to the letters of the web site and make sure everything is correct. Just ignore if you notice a small change like a change of a letter. To show you as examples: go0gle.com,  m1crosoft.com. 
  5. As a last tip, I would suggest using search engines to visit the site.  This could help in becoming the victim of DNS poisoning attack for a certain extent.

2. Keep Backups Up To Date: 

Always be ready with backups. Keep your backup up to date. This is the best defence not just against phishing but also for all kind of cyberattacks. When the attacker attempts to down your business by blocking your data, you can bring everything back in place from your backups and run the show.

3. MFA – Multi-Factor Authentication:

As it says, you need to supply more than one factors to prove your identity. You are as safe as until the attacker get all your credential factors. This could help, to some extent, even attacker stole your password. Always keep your login factors safe and changing over time works even better.

4. Keep Change Credentials Over Time:

No matter you are targeted or not, it’s always best to change the login credentials periodically. This would definitely decrease the success rate of social engineering attacks.

5. Follow the best practice:

You should be aware of and apply the best cybersecurity practices in your life. Some common practices that work as a guard to all such phish attacks:

  1. Adhere to the password policy
  2. Keep updating all your computers, tablets, and smartphones.
  3. Use antivirus and encryptions. 
  4. Follow all email security guidelines.
  5. Use VPN Whenever you need.


In summary, cybercriminals always keep trying new techniques to trick you into revealing your personal information. Awareness is the key to prevent all such attacks. For every attack, there are countermeasures. Please be aware of and use a suitable strategy to keep yourself away from it.

Thank you for reading this article. Please visit the below links to read more such interesting articles. And also peace leave your comments here below and let us know your feedback. This helps us to bring more such interesting articles.

About the author

Arun KL

To know more about me. Follow me on LinkedIn
Hi All, I am Arun KL, an IT Security Professional. Founder of “thesecmaster.com”. Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Writer, Editor, Author at TheSecMaster. To know more about me. Follow me on LinkedIn

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