With the advanced technology that many people use, hackers and scammers tend to use advanced techniques to invade people’s privacy, steal sensitive information, and make cyber attacks like spear phishing or other online illegal activities. Then, these pieces of information are used to hack their data, bank accounts, and financial transactions online.
Since cybercriminals also use advanced technologies and approaches, it is necessary to brace yourself with complete security to protect your online transactions while accessing other websites altogether. But how can you do that if you don’t have any idea about these things? It is highly advisable to know more about phishing, spear phishing, how spear phishing emails happen and learn how to prevent this spear phishing illegal activity. In this article, you will be enlightened about the different ways and procedures to avoid spear phishing attacks.
What Is Spear Phishing?
Spear phishing is one of the social engineering techniques or methods that hackers utilize in stealing confidential information or installing malware on the devices of their phishing victims. Spear phishing is hugely effective, highly targeted, and tough to prevent.
Cybercriminals utilize spear phishing attacks or methods in trying to steal important data on their specific targets. These data would be your financial information, personal information, or anything useful for them. These spear phishing attacks need significant research that often involves getting the spear phishing victim’s sensitive data or personal information.
Spear Phishing targets both Individuals and Businesses.
Spear phishing attackers may target both businesses and individuals. These phishing attackers don’t even select whom to target since they can do this malicious activity to anyone through spear phishing messages. So, whether you depend on email for your business or you use email for some personal reasons, it is still crucial to be cautious that spear phishing attackers may have access to sensitive or some confidential information from you through an email client or phone calls. Learn more about how these spear phishing attackers invade your privacy and your business company.
Individual Spear Phishing Attack
Spear phishing attacks are also prone to individuals who don’t have enough knowledge about using advanced technology. Many people tend to use their devices when doing online transactions without thinking about the possible risks of phishing. They felt that they were correct since they don’t experience any suspicious spear phishing emails activity. But as they browse their internet, download malware, give their genuine email, provide passwords, and visit some phishing websites, they are already prone to spear phishing scams.
Some of you may not notice that there’s a malicious link given to you on the page. Then, you unintentionally click the link out of curiosity. After that, you are redirected to a malicious website that would ask for some sensitive information, credit card details, or personal details about you. This is one of the ways on how to steal data from you.
Business Spear Phishing Attack
In businesses, spear phishing attacks are rampant. One of the spear phishing tactics and spear phishing attacks used by the attackers is to send spear phishing messages to your email or by email’s stated destination. You will also receive an SMS message saying that you need to verify your personal information because your accounts online are being compromised.
In some instances, fake social engineering or spear phishing attackers may steal personal data from your business by email phishing attacks. They will send a link to open and access it since you badly needed to see it. Then, you will be redirected to another site, informing you to verify the human element or your identity to proceed. Well, if this is the case, it would be better not to input and share your sensitive information for you to avoid possible unauthorized access to sensitive data of your accounts and would not experience identity theft. It would be best if you also learned more about user education for security purposes. IT security or cybersecurity team of the major companies is aware of spear phishing emails and can avoid possible breaching of personal details of their other employees in their organization.
What Is the Difference Between Spear Phishing and Phishing?
Phishing is a broader term used in referring to any social engineering or cybersecurity attack that tricks the victims into sharing sensitive information to some platform. These hackers are after the end users’ passwords, identification numbers, usernames, and others. Even though several kinds of phishing scams and strategies exist, one of the most prominent types is spear phishing.
Spear phishing perpetrators use different modes of targeted attacks on other people. But many of these attackers use SMS phishing or utilize spear phishing emails when sending messages to their victims. Such attacks are sometimes effective for some people who are not wary about clicking user training links that they received in their inbox. With spear phishing, thieves or hackers generally target selected groups of individuals or CEO fraud. Perhaps you are all students in a particular university or working in one company, or you typically utilize the same bank in your locality. Whatever mode they used, they do this thing because it effectively works. Spear phishing attacks or methods are being used in 91% of phishing attacks.
How Does Spear Phishing Happen?
Phishing spear is another unsophisticated cyberattack compared to more advanced technology-powered attacks such as WannaCry Ransomware. But the quality and volume of phishing emails had dramatically improved in the last decades. Thus, it’s pretty tricky to determine spear phishing emails if the end users have no prior knowledge about them.
Cybercriminals tend to search for high-profile targets who share sensitive data on different phishing or unauthorized access websites. With poor cybersecurity practices, hackers gather personal data and sensitive information from any social media platform and news to learn personal or professional relationships, including personal details.
Spear phishing attackers make personalized messages to their phishing targeted attacks, which feel and look authentic, without providing a single doubt once end-users receive the message. This personalization process created by the spear phishing workgroups gives them a chance to use phishing email perfectly. Then, spoofed emails are used to send the link’s anchor text to the email addresses of their potential targets. Once the users click the given link, spear phishing attack makers may steal confidential information from the company websites since they can now access sensitive information on the device and the business itself. They can also access sensitive data like credit card details, IP addresses, account numbers, or confidential information about you or your business.
How Common is Spear Phishing?
Nowadays, spear phishing is prominent in different places. Other countries consider this illegal activity a dangerous phishing email activity that provides enormous consequences for the victims. For you to imagine how common spear phishing or voice phishing is, then take a glimpse at the critical data and statistics about the different cybercrime attacks like phishing:
• In 2018, almost 83% of the population worldwide received a spear phishing attack, which results in damages and disruptions.
• According to SANS Institute, almost 95% of attacks in business organizations and networks are due to successful spear phishing attacks, bogus emails, spear phishing attempts, and spear phishing scams.
• Around 1.5 million newfangled phishing websites exist every month. It is because anyone can easily make a website and can make money out of doing online transactions. Then, phishing or hackers make possible attacks by encouraging online users to input their login details to access fake websites.
• Spear phishing provides around 40% of returns to cybercriminals in comparison to regular phishing scam attacks.
• Out of 70% of the users who once became victims of spear-phishing scam attacks, 50% of them opened links in their emails.
These statistics are said to be alarming. And it’s not surprising anymore that the IT experts of business companies worldwide feel that this malicious activity is a top concern or threat to cybersecurity.
Ways to Prevent Spear Phishing
If you have a successful business, you might be prone to be the targeted attack for different spear phishing campaigns. That’s why it is essential to improve the information security rules and policies and the risk management programs in your business. This is to enhance your defence system, which obstructs hackers from breaching your network, and to get personal information from your employees. Along with the strict implementation of a data security system in your business company, it is also essential to consider the following things to prevent spear phishing:
• Install malware scanner and remover
In this business company, installing malware detection and remover is crucial because this can detect possible phishing threats in your system. An anti-malware helps you see malicious activity online; thus, giving you the chance to control the possibility of information-leaking. This will also allow you not to infect the computers that you are using.
• Limit yourself on sharing personal information on any social media
You can avoid spear phishing attacks if you do not share personal information about the IT security team, contact numbers, home addresses, email addresses, and others on any social media platform.
• Avoid clicking the links on the email
Phishing emails are rampant this time. Spear phishing attackers may send links in your email that would harm your device or accounts once the phishing links are clicked. If you receive some up-to-date phishing or malicious emails, you need to report them at once.
• Use biometric or two-factor authentication aside from your strong passwords
This way can help you to prevent any possible spear phishing attacks from anyone. If you think that someone accesses your accounts online, then you can report your stolen password. Make sure to report suspicious emails to stop the possible threats being made and done online.
These things would help you to improve cybersecurity online. Just be vigilant and stay safe from doing the correct procedures when you are doing online transactions.