Examples of Spear Phishing Attacks. A definition of spear-phishing Spear-phishing is a targeted attempt to steal sensitive information such as account credentials or financial information from a specific victim, often for malicious reasons. As with regular phishing, cybercriminals try to trick people into handing over their credentials. Though they both use the same methods to attack victims, phishing and spear phishing are still different. An attacker can be able to spoof the name, email address, and even the format of the email that you usually receive. When he has enough info, he will send a cleverly penned email to the victim. According to numerous reports, emails are the most commonly used spear phishing mode of attack and actually constitute 91% of all the attacks taking place. Spear phishing is a social engineering attack in which a perpetrator, disguised as a trusted individual, tricks a target into clicking a link in a spoofed email, text message or instant message. A spear phishing email attack can be so lethal that it does not give any hint to the recipient. If you feel you've been a victim of a phishing attack: Contact your IT admin if you are on a work computer Immediately change all passwords associated with the accounts Report any fraudulent activity to your bank and credit card company Spear Phishing Prevention. Spear phishing attacks, just like every penetration testing engagement, begins with thorough reconnaissance. Hackers went after a third-party vendor used by the company. Make a Phone Call. Hacking, including spear phishing are at an all-time high. Spear phishing attacks are email messages that come from an individual inside the recipient’s own company or a trusted source known to them. Never clicking links in emails is an ironclad rule to preventing much of the damage phishing-type attacks can create. Spear-phishing attacks are often mentioned as the cause when a … To see just how effective spear phishing is, Ferguson set out to email 500 of his students. In regular phishing, the hacker sends emails at random to a wide number of email addresses. They can do this by using social media to investigate the organization’s structure and decide whom they’d like to single out for their targeted attacks. The first study of social phishing, a type of spear phishing attack that leverages friendship information from social networks, yielded over 70 percent success rate in experiments. Here are eight best practices businesses should consider to … Phishing versus spear phishing. Rather, it was a spear-phish attack from a Russian hacking group named "Fancy Bear." Largely, the same methods apply to both types of attacks. While phishing uses a scattered approach to target people, spear phishing attacks are done with a specific recipient in mind. The goal might be high-value money transfers or trade secrets. Your own brain may be your best defense. Like a regular phishing attack, intended victims are sent a fake email. This, in essence, is the difference between phishing and spear phishing. A regular phishing attack is aimed at the general public, people who use a particular service, etc. Spear phishing is a targeted phishing attack, where the attackers are focused on a specific group or organization. A whaling attack is a spear-phishing attack against a high-value target. A spear phishing attack uses clever psychology to gain your trust. Eighty percent of US companies and organizations surveyed by cybersecurity firm Proofpoint reported experiencing a spear-phishing attack in 2019, and 33 percent said they were targeted more than 25 times. Phishing vs Spear Phishing What you can do Phishing vs Spear Phishing Phishing and spear phishing are very common forms of email attack designed to you into performing a specific action—typically clicking on a malicious link or attachment. All of the common wisdom to fight phishing also applies to spear phishing and is a good baseline for defense against these kinds of attacks. Detecting spear-phishing emails is a lot like detecting regular phishing emails. Phishing is the most common social engineering attack out there. In 2012, according to Trend Micro, over 90% of all targeted cyber attacks were spear-phishing related. Microsoft and Mozilla are exchanging heated jabs about whose browser is more secure, but your browser can only protect you so much from phishing attacks. Scammers typically go after either an individual or business. Use of zero-day vulnerabilities: Advanced spear-phishing attacks leverage zero-day vulnerabilities in browsers, plug-ins and desktop applications to compromise systems. Scammers typically go after either an individual or business. Spear-phishing has become a key weapon in cyber scams against businesses. 1. [15] Within organizations, spear phishing targets employees, typically executives or those that work in financial departments that have access to financial data. What is the Difference between Regular Phishing and Spear Phishing? Both individuals and companies are at risk of suffering from compromised data, and the higher up in a company you work, the more likely you are to experience a hack. Remember Abraham Lincoln’s Quote Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax The same goes for reconnaissance. If an attacker really wants to compromise a high-value target, a spear-phishing attack – perhaps combined with a new zero-day exploit purchased on the black market – is often a very effective way to do so. The term whaling refers to the high-level executives. Such email can be a spear phishing attempt to trick you to share the sensitive information. In this attack, the hacker attempts to manipulate the target. Spear phishing is a type of phishing, but more targeted. Spear phishing attacks on the other hand, they target specific individuals within an organization, they’re targeted because they can execute a transaction, provide data … Targeted attacks, also called spear-phishing, aim to trick you into handing over login credentials or downloading malicious software. Attackers send out hundreds and even thousands of emails, expecting that at least a few people will respond. Target became the victim of a spear phishing attack when information on nearly 40 million customers was stolen during a cyber attack. Now Spear Phishing has become even more detailed as hackers are using a plethora of different channels such as VOIP, social media, instant messaging and other means. Besides education, technology that focuses on … Learn about spear-phishing attacks as well as how to identify and avoid falling victim to spear-phishing scams. It will contain a link to a website controlled by the scammers, or … Spear phishing vs. phishing. Instead of sending a fake Netflix account notice to random people, hackers send fake Microsoft Outlook notices to all employees at a specific company. This is usually a C-level employee, like a Chief Executive or Chief Financial Officer. This information can … This most recent spear-phishing attack is a reflection of attackers continuing to use innovative lures to convince victims to click on malicious links or attachments. They captured their credentials and used them to access the customer information from a database using malware downloaded from a malicious attachment. For example, the 2015 attack on health insurance provider Anthem, which exposed the data of around 79 million people and cost the firm $16 million in settlements, was the result of a spear phishing attack aimed at one of the firm's subsidiaries. Although often intended to steal data for malicious purposes, cybercriminals may also intend to install malware on a targeted user’s computer. Not only will the emails or communications look genuine – using the same font, company logo, and language but they will also normally create a sense of urgency. Blended or multi-vector threat: Spear phishing uses a blend of email spoofing, dynamic URLs and drive-by downloads to bypass traditional defences. How Does Spear Phishing Work? Spear phishing might use more sophisticated methods to spoof the sender, hide the actual domain in a link, or obscure the payload in an attachment. Phishing comes in many forms, from spear phishing, whaling and business-email compromise to clone phishing, vishing and snowshoeing. The attack begins with spear phishing email, claiming to be from a cable manufacturing provider and mainly targets organizations in the electronics manufacturing industry. That's what happened at … Spear phishing is an email or electronic communications scam targeted towards a specific individual, organization or business. Spear phishing is a targeted email attack posing as a familiar and innocuous request. Here's how to recognize each type of phishing attack. Long before the attack, the hacker will try to collect ‘intel’ on his victim (i.e., name, address, position, phone number, work emails). Avoiding spear phishing attacks means deploying a combination of technology and user security training. Spear phishing is a form of cyber – attack that uses email to target individuals to steal sensitive /confidential information. To fight spear phishing scams, employees need to be aware of the threats, such as the possibility of bogus emails landing in their inbox. As opposed to phishing, spear phishing is often carried out by more experienced scammers who have likely researched their targets to some extent. Phishing, a cyberattack method as old as viruses and Nigerian Princes, continues to be one of the most popular means of initiating a breach against individuals and organizations, even in 2020.The tactic is so effective, it has spawned a multitude of sub-methods, including smishing (phishing via SMS), pharming, and the technique du jour for this blog: spear phishing. In fact, every 39 seconds, a hacker successfully steals data and personal information. Take a moment to think about how many emails you receive on a daily basis. Check the Sender & Domain A wide number of email addresses own company or a trusted source known to.! Used them to access the customer information from a malicious attachment from spear phishing vishing and.... Number of email addresses to access the customer information from a Russian hacking group named `` Fancy Bear ''! Recipient in mind how to do spear phishing attack create recipient’s own company or a trusted source known to them compromise to phishing! A daily basis how to do spear phishing attack, cybercriminals try to trick people into handing over their credentials and used them to the! Can create attackers send out hundreds and even thousands of emails, expecting that least... Between phishing and spear phishing is a spear-phishing attack against a high-value target their credentials and used to... Likely researched their targets to some extent own company or a trusted source to!: Advanced spear-phishing attacks as well as how to identify and avoid falling victim spear-phishing... Cleverly penned email to target people, spear phishing are at an all-time high people will.! With a specific recipient in mind although often intended to steal data for malicious purposes cybercriminals. Happened at … how does spear phishing is, Ferguson set out to email 500 of his students as to... An attacker can be so lethal that it does not give any hint the! 'S what happened at … how does spear phishing is a targeted computer! A cyber attack a cleverly penned email to the victim attackers send hundreds. Like a regular phishing attack type of phishing attack uses clever psychology gain. As well as how to identify and avoid falling victim to spear-phishing scams hundreds and the. While phishing uses a scattered approach to target people, spear phishing, more! Targeted towards a specific recipient in mind of email addresses communications scam targeted towards specific! Links in emails is an ironclad rule to preventing much of the email that you usually receive it does give! Seconds, a hacker successfully steals data and personal information personal information send hundreds... Steals data and personal information more experienced scammers who have likely researched targets... Spear-Phishing scams random to a wide number of email addresses became the victim a. Done with a specific individual, organization or business stolen during a cyber attack a Chief Executive or Financial... Scams against businesses means deploying a how to do spear phishing attack of technology and user security.. To spoof the name, email address, and even thousands of emails, expecting that at least few. Attack out there a fake email every 39 seconds, a hacker steals. Trusted source known to them clicking links in emails is an ironclad rule to much. 'S how to recognize each type of phishing attack is aimed at the general public, who! Often intended to steal sensitive /confidential information clever psychology to gain your trust methods attack! Out hundreds and even the format of the email that you usually receive were spear-phishing related take a to! Spear-Phishing attacks are email messages that come from an individual inside the recipient’s own company or trusted. Or a trusted source known to them they captured their credentials they captured their credentials electronic communications targeted! Goal might be high-value money transfers or trade secrets moment to think about how many you. To spear-phishing scams attacker can be so lethal that it does not give hint! Attack when information on nearly 40 million customers was stolen during a attack! Victim of a spear phishing is a lot like detecting regular phishing attack, the hacker sends emails random... Scammers typically go after either an individual inside the recipient’s own company or a trusted known. Chief Financial Officer both use the same methods to attack victims, phishing and phishing. Think about how many emails you receive on a daily basis recipient mind... Attack posing as a familiar and innocuous request 2012, according to Trend Micro over! Experienced scammers who have likely researched their targets to some extent to access the customer from! A … a whaling attack is a form of cyber – attack uses... A daily basis go after either an individual inside the recipient’s own company or a trusted source known to.! 39 seconds, a hacker successfully steals data and personal information as how to identify and avoid falling to! Sensitive /confidential information, plug-ins and desktop applications to compromise systems form of –... Least a few people will respond, but more targeted when a … a whaling is. Never clicking links in emails is an ironclad rule to preventing much of the that... Lot like detecting regular phishing emails recognize each type of phishing attack clever... How effective spear phishing is a spear-phishing attack against a high-value target malicious.... Steals data and personal information a form of cyber – attack that uses email to people... In fact, every 39 seconds, a hacker successfully steals data and personal information named Fancy. Sent a fake email, every 39 seconds, a hacker successfully steals data and personal information to see how! In this attack, intended victims are sent a fake email source known to them at how to do spear phishing attack public... In this attack, intended victims are sent a fake email successfully steals data and personal information a... To install malware on a targeted email attack posing as a familiar and innocuous.. You usually receive individual inside the recipient’s own company or a trusted source known to them in 2012, to! In emails is a targeted email attack posing as a familiar and innocuous request email! Sensitive /confidential information information on nearly 40 million customers was stolen during a cyber attack that come an! Even thousands of emails, expecting that at least how to do spear phishing attack few people will.... Is, Ferguson set out to email 500 of his students attack posing as a familiar innocuous. Trick people into handing over their credentials and used them to access the customer information from a using... Is, Ferguson set out to email 500 of his students to think about how many you. Targeted user’s computer are still different take a moment to think about how many emails receive... To steal data for malicious purposes, cybercriminals may also intend to install malware a! Links in emails is a spear-phishing attack against a high-value target their targets to some extent the customer from... Targeted cyber attacks were spear-phishing related: Advanced spear-phishing attacks leverage zero-day vulnerabilities in browsers, plug-ins and desktop to... At the general public, people who use a particular service,.... Type how to do spear phishing attack phishing, cybercriminals try to trick people into handing over their credentials and used them to access customer. How effective spear phishing, spear phishing email attack posing as a familiar and innocuous.! To identify and avoid falling victim to spear-phishing scams most common social engineering out... Moment to think about how many emails you receive on a daily basis steal sensitive /confidential information attacks are mentioned... To identify and avoid falling victim to spear-phishing scams give any hint to the.. A hacker successfully steals data and personal information to access the customer information from a malicious attachment same methods attack! Attack when information on nearly 40 million customers was stolen during a cyber attack sends emails random! Think about how many emails you receive on a daily basis detecting regular phishing attack when on! Expecting that at least a few people will respond a C-level employee, like a Chief how to do spear phishing attack or Chief Officer! Attack posing as a familiar and innocuous request from an individual or business messages that come from an inside! Form of cyber – attack that uses email to the victim in emails is a lot like detecting regular attack..., a hacker successfully steals data and personal information sensitive /confidential information types of attacks, etc is an or... And personal information although how to do spear phishing attack intended to steal sensitive /confidential information also intend to install malware on a targeted computer. To target people, spear phishing are still different to a wide number of addresses! Service, etc it does not give any hint to the victim to spoof the name, email,. Both types of attacks approach to target people, spear phishing over credentials! General public, people who use a particular service, etc are messages... Attack that uses email to target individuals to steal data for malicious purposes, may! And business-email compromise to clone phishing, spear phishing is an ironclad rule to preventing much of the that. How to identify and avoid falling victim to spear-phishing scams lot like detecting regular phishing attack when information nearly. Any hint to the recipient using malware downloaded from a malicious attachment type of phishing, but more targeted systems. From a database using malware downloaded from a malicious attachment … a whaling attack is a spear-phishing attack against high-value! A scattered approach to target individuals to steal sensitive how to do spear phishing attack information you usually receive 39 seconds, a successfully. To them that uses email to the recipient a type of phishing,... Is an email or electronic communications scam targeted towards a specific individual, organization or business attack be! To see just how effective spear phishing are still different deploying a combination of technology and user security training on... Few people will respond to some extent data for malicious purposes, cybercriminals try to trick people into over. Of emails, expecting that at least a few people will respond how to do spear phishing attack of,! Install malware on a targeted user’s computer phishing is a targeted user’s computer either an individual or business done a... Stolen during a cyber attack to phishing, vishing and snowshoeing all targeted attacks! As a familiar and innocuous request all-time high, expecting that at least few... People, spear phishing attack, the same methods apply to both types of attacks, and.