spear phishing

Pretexting and phishing constitute 93% and 98% of data breaches respectively. Recently, there has been quite a surge in spear phishing attacks against CEOs. It’s a kind of an attack where the attacker impersonates a trustworthy person or creates a fake narrative, in order to get their hands on confidential information that can be used to penetrate through your network. Most of the time, it’s done in the form of an email that appears to come from a trusted source.

What Is The Difference Between Phishing And Spear Phishing?

Spear phishing is basically a subdivision of a phishing attack, with the same end objectives. However, in both of these cases, the tactics employed are different. Phishing attacks are targeted toward a wider group of people, rather than just an individual. Phishers make things look legitimate enough for people to fall into the trap and click on their link.

On the other hand, spear phishing is a personalized attack targeting a certain individual or group. In order to make their approach look genuine, they deceive their victims with as much personal information as required to make it appear like a familiar or trusted source.

How To Avoid A Spear Phishing Attack

  • Be Doubtful: If you want to avoid being scammed, you need to ask yourself questions before clicking on that link or opening that email. As a rule of thumb, don’t get trapped by the very first request you get.
  • Inspect The Link: Attackers are quite good at making the URLs look legit enough for us to believe that it is harmless. However, one should always inspect the links by hovering over them. If the domain sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.
  • Avoid Clicking On Suspicious Links: If you avoid clicking on the link in the phisher’s email, it ensures that you are not going to a suspicious website. Use bookmarks to keep track of trusted websites and take note of HTTPS.
  • Be Good With Your Passwords: A short password can be easily cracked. You should use an alphanumeric password that is at least 12-16 characters long. Keep changing this password at regular intervals.
  • Update Your Software: In order to match the most recent known patch vulnerabilities and attacks, security researchers try their best to update their security and anti-virus software.  On the other hand, the malware distributors are focusing upon new hacking methodologies, patch vulnerability or application. This is the reason why it is important to stay abreast with the latest system security features to be on the safe side. Always use the latest antivirus software on your devices.
  • Implement security strategy on an enterprise level: Even if 1 out of 100 phishing attempts crack through the system, some of your data are likely to be compromised. One compromised user can lead to data exfiltration, privilege escalation, lateral movement and more. Implement a company-wide layered security technique to shield against spear phishing attack. Also, high priority must be given to training employees to increase security awareness.

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