What is Vishing in Cyber Security? [Explained]

Written By Sambita Panigrahy  
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On April 25th, 2023
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading

Vishing is a term that sounds similar to phishing or smishing. If you think, they are related, then yes you are absolutely right, they do. Like Phishing, Vishing also relies on manipulating user thinking, where cybercriminals impersonate genuine callers and convince victims to share their personal information. They use different tactics to lure people. Let’s learn more about what is vishing in cyber security and more importantly, how you can prevent it.

Vishing Meaning in Cyber Security

Vishing is a type of cybercrime where victims’ phones are used to obtain their private information. Cybercriminals use sophisticated techniques, sometimes known as voice phishing, to persuade victims to act, divulging personal information and access to bank accounts.

Cybercriminals threaten their victims and use strong rhetoric to convince them that providing the requested information is their only option. Some online predators speak aggressively in an effort to appear as though they are assisting the victim in avoiding prosecution. Another typical strategy is to threaten the recipient by leaving voicemails that demand a call-back soon or else they fear having their bank accounts closed, getting arrested, or worse.

Common Working of Vishing Attacks in Cyber Security

To trick victims into believing a call is coming from a reliable company or their local area code, vishing attackers frequently utilize caller ID spoofing. To trick victims into giving them their personal information, they frequently assume the identity of a reliable source or legitimate organization.

Scammers will use a sense of urgency to play on the victim’s emotions when they pick up the phone and persuade them to respond to a request for personal information. They can claim you have a bill that has to be paid off right away or that one of your financial accounts has a problem that needs to be fixed right now.

It is similar to phishing but not exactly the same. Let’s find out the difference.

Phishing Vs Vishing Attacks

Vishing and phishing are both kinds of social engineering attacks that employ many of the same techniques; however, they differ primarily in the media via which they are carried out.

Vishing is an attack method that utilizes a phone, as was previously explained. Calling the victim or getting them to call them is how the attacker tries to verbally manipulate them into acting in a certain way. On the other hand, phishers carry out their attacks through text-based, computerized means of communication. While email is the most popular and well-known phishing method, attackers can also launch their attacks through text messages (also known as sms phishing), business communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, messaging services like Telegram, Signal, and WhatsApp, and social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

vishing and phishing difference

Vishing Scam Tactics Used by Cybercriminals

Vishing can take many different shapes, but it always aims to fool you into disclosing private information—either for financial gain or to commit another crime, such as identity theft.

Threat actors use a range of strategies to entice victims into their schemes as vishing grows more common. Cybercriminals frequently customize their phishing calls and texts to the season or a hot topic in the media. For instance, during tax season, criminals will post comments on social media purporting to be from the IRS.

Let’s understand what techniques they use, with some of the most common examples of vishing scams at work today. 

1. Fake Bank Transactions

To access your financial accounts, phishing criminals may pretend to be your bank, credit card provider, or another financial institution. In this scenario, the con artist generally claims that the victim’s account has seen unusual or fraudulent activity and requests confirmation from the victim of their bank account information, account numbers, or mailing addresses.

2. Fraudulent Tech Support

The caller will pretend to be a tech assistant from a credible company, such as Google, Apple, or another relevant supplier, in this case. They typically ask the victim to validate their account information after receiving a notice of suspicious activity on their account. In order to prevent their account from being compromised, they might additionally request an email address to which they can send a software update, instructing the victim to install it on their computer. The software update is really only a cover for installing malware on the victim’s machine.

3. Medicare or Social Security Fraud

In order to obtain sensitive information from victims, criminals frequently target older people in their attacks and assume the identities of Medicare or Social Security agents. They may contact and request information about a Medicare account in order to obtain a new Medicare card, or they may request that victims confirm their Social Security number in order to keep their entitlement to benefits from being terminated.

4. IRS Tax Fraud

As mentioned earlier, criminals will post comments on social media purporting to be from the IRS. Typically, a voice message that has been produced detailing a problem with the victim’s tax return is used in this form of a vishing attack. Usually, this is followed by a notice informing you that if you don’t call back, an arrest warrant will be filed for you.

Know The Ways To Spot Vishing Scam

Due to the emotional content of the calls, it might be challenging to see a vishing scam in action. However, there are numerous red flags that can help you spot possible scams.

  • The caller pretends to be from a government agency: Never provide financial information to a caller who asks for it while claiming to be from a government agency. Never answer a call from a government agency requesting confidential information or money.
  • There is a feeling of necessity: The primary vishing method is to utilize tactics of dread or scare to prey on the victims’ emotions. Keep your composure and refuse to give out your information if a caller threatens you with arrest or account suspension.
  • The caller asks you to confirm account information: Scammers may urge you to confirm some account information just to address an issue with one of your accounts. Never give an unknown caller any personal information.

 Thus, never ignore the above warning signs. Most importantly, avoid and prevent such scams from happening.

How to Prevent a Vishing Attack in Cyber Security?

Despite how common vishing scams may be, there are easy and efficient ways to protect yourself.

  • Keep Information Quiet: Don’t reveal login credentials and passwords, and never divulge details from a passport or driver’s license. Your accounts and identities will remain secure as a result.
  • Join the National Do Not Call Registry System to have your phone number removed from lists of telemarketers that call you without your permission. Vishing assaults don’t adhere to this list, but unidentified callers are less likely to be trustworthy because respectable organizations shouldn’t be making calls.
  • Verify Unknown Numbers: If you receive a call from an unknown number, use a mobile application to check it out.
  • Ignore Unknown Calls. Let them go to Voicemail. As an alternative, you could let incoming calls go to voicemail before calling the person back. If it seems like your bank is calling but you are wary, phone the bank to confirm whether it has gotten in touch with you. Although exercising caution might take a little more time, it is preferable to divulging sensitive personal data.

As a matter of fact, not just individuals, cybercriminals also target businesses. Thus, it’s important for businesses to adapt best practices to avoid vishing scams. This starts with launching cybersecurity awareness training programs for employees. And, Phishing Simulations are one of the best ways to raise awareness against rising vishing attacks.

By using phishing simulators, You can detect whether employees are vulnerable to online crimes that use social engineering to deceive and steal from victims. Any successful program for educating people about security awareness must include real-time phishing scenarios.

Cybersecurity hazards are made more visible through security awareness training and phishing simulations. Because it gives users first-hand exposure to the tactics cybercriminals use to trick, persuade, and steal.

For more information, Contact our team of cyber experts now!