Phishing in Cyber Security: Looming Threat in Cyber Security

Written By Sambita Panigrahy  
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On November 29th, 2023
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading

Phishing in cyber security refers to a malicious attack where attackers use fraudulent emails, text messages, phone calls, or websites to betray users into downloading malware. Additionally, this tactic involves sharing personal data (such as social security, credit card numbers, and login credentials). Often,  successful phishing attacks lead to identity theft, ransomware attacks, credit card fraud, data breaches, and substantial financial losses.

Recent research published by IT Governance reveals that Phishing stands out as the leading attack method employed by hackers to deliver ransomware to both individuals and organizations.

A screenshot of the report is mentioned below

report on phishing in cyber security

Based on the report’s findings, email phishing emerged as the leading form of branded phishing attacks. It constitutes 44% of all incidents, closely followed by web phishing. Notably, attackers frequently contact the names of reputable brands like Microsoft, DHL, and Apple in their fraudulent phishing messages.

Sophisticated Phishing Attack Examples

The following illustrates phishing scams attacks

  • Attempts to steal credentials for Microsoft accounts: During August 2020, cyber attackers employed phishing emails in an attempt to pilfer Microsoft account credentials. The false messages aimed to betray the recipients into clicking on a malicious link that redirected them to a fake Microsoft login page.

  • Amazon phishing emails attempt to steal credit card information: In September 2020, malicious actors initiated a phishing campaign by sending an email that seemingly originated from Amazon. The fake message aimed to cheat recipients into revealing their credit card details.

    The email falsely asserted that the user’s account had been deactivated due to excessive login failures. Additionally, this also includes a link to a fake Amazon Billing Center website, forcing the user to re-enter their payment information.

Now, let us move on to the types of Phishing in Cyber Security

Phishing Techniques in Cyber Security

There are various types of phishing techniques, some of the most advanced of which are mentioned below:

  • Email Phishing: Email phishing is a number game. By dispatching multiple fraudulent messages, an attacker can gain substantial information and monetary gains. They can also succeed even if only a small number of recipients fall into the fraudulent scheme.
    As seen above, attackers use Amazon’s duplicate site to initiate the phishing campaign. Moreover, attackers often employ tactics to induce users into taking immediate action by generating a sense of urgency.
    For example, as demonstrated earlier, an email might issue threats of account expiration, putting the recipient under a time constraint. This heightened pressure can lead the user to act hastily, becoming less vigilant and more susceptible to making errors.
  • Spear Phishing: Spear phishing is distinct from random application user targeting, as it focuses on individualized targeting of specific persons or enterprises. It is an in-depth version of phishing, as it requires special knowledge about the organization, including its power structure.
    By providing an attacker with valid login credentials, spear phishing in cyber security is the most effective method for executing the first stage of an APT
  • Whaling: whaling attacks target senior management and other highly powerful roles. Whaling shares the same ultimate goal as other phishing attacks, but its technique is often more subtle. Senior employees typically have a wealth of information available in the public domain, which attackers can leverage to craft highly effective and personalized attacks.
  • Smishing and Vishing: This is a type of phishing attack in which attackers choose a phone instead of written communication. Smishing involves sending fraudulent SMS messages, while vishing involves phone conversations. 
  • Deceptive Phishing: This is the most common type of phishing attack in which an attacker attempts to obtain confidential information from the victims. Attackers use this information to steal money or launch another type of attack.

Protecting Against Phishing Attacks in Cyber Security

Encourage organizations to instruct employees on identifying phishing attacks and developing best practices for dealing with suspicious emails or text messages. For example, users can be taught to recognize these and other characteristics and features of phishing in cyber security:

  • Requests for personal or sensitive information or to update the profile or payment information
  • The recipients do not request or expect the file attachments
  • Requests to send or move money
  • The threat of jail time or unrealistic consequences
  • Inconsistence or spoofed sender address
  • Images of text are used in place of text (in messages or web pages linked to messages)
  • Phishing often exploits a sense of urgency (your account will be closed today…) to more subtle tactics (a colleague requesting immediate payment of an invoice). These messages may even include threats of unrealistic consequences, such as jail time, to manipulate the recipient’s emotions and prompt hasty actions.

This is only a partial list; unfortunately, hackers are always prepared for these preventive measures, and they are always devising new phishing techniques to avoid detection. Therefore, let us focus on the specialized technology that can fight against phishing attacks in cyber security

Security Technologies That Fight Phishing 

Despite the best user training and rigorous best practices, users still make mistakes. Fortunately, beyond training and policy measures, security teams can support their defense against phishing attacks.

This can happen with a range of established and emerging endpoint and network security technologies. These cutting-edge methods can serve as essential reinforcements in the ongoing battle against phishing attacks.

  • Spam Filter and Email Security Software: use data on existing phishing in cyber security and machine learning algorithms. It is possible to identify suspected phishing emails and other scams effectively. These intelligent algorithms can automatically segregate phishing emails (and other scams) into a special folder and disable any harmful links they may contain. This proactive approach enhances email security and shields users from potential cyberattacks.
  • Anti-virus and anti-malware software: this can detect and neutralize the malicious files and codes in phishing emails.  
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: requires at least one login credential in addition to the username and password. 

For example, the system will send a one-time code to the user’s cell phone. Multi-Factor Authentication can detect phishing in cyber attacks and prevent BEC  by providing an additional last line of defense against phishing attacks in cyber security that successfully compromise passwords. 

Advanced Solution To Fight Against Phishing Attacks

Remember that prevention is better than remediation. Therefore, fighting against phishing attacks is a foremost concern in the field of cyber security. Employing professional solutions like Phishing simulation software can greatly enhance our defenses against these malicious campaigns. 

Protection solution

Moreover, this solution helps organizations prevent phishing scams before they reach users. It also limits the impact of phishing on cybersecurity. Hence, let’s unite in the fight against phishing and build a safer, more secure digital world for everyone. 

Let’s unite in the fight against phishing and collectively strive to build a safer and more secure digital world for everyone. 

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