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  • Writer's pictureMarketing Intelliway

The most common Phishing, Smishing, and Vishing attacks on the market

Updated: May 23, 2023

Have you heard the terms Phishing, Smishing, and Vishing? These are the most common cyber attacks. Unfortunately, this type of crime is increasingly common.



However, it is possible to better understand what they are and how to avoid cyber attacks. In this regard, you can learn about some important points that characterize the attacks. And as a result, avoid falling for any of these scams.


In short, attacks like Phishing, Smishing, and Vishing are crimes that happen over the internet. These are practiced with the intention of invading computers or cell phones in search of data, causing damage in general, or receiving money.


Most Phishing, Smishing, and Vishing attacks happen because criminals use social engineering to lure victims. Learn more about social engineering in our full article on the subject by clicking here.


What is Phishing Attack


A Phishing attack is very common and its aim is to steal personal data from victims, usually financial data. Considering the name and its relation to the word “fishing”, it is possible to understand that criminals use some kind of bait to attract people's attention.


Then, after attracting victims' attention, people are eventually convinced to share their personal information, typically financial data. For this, criminals take advantage of people's naivety and weaknesses.


Check out the most common Phishing attacks practiced by criminals below.


Clone phishing

In clone phishing cybercriminals use some website or email that looks legitimate. They use well-known pages and companies with a good reputation for this. In fact, even government agencies are often cloned.


The intention in this case is to lure victims through flashy email subjects. These can be subjects that arouse people's curiosity, greed, or fear.


And maybe you believe it’s something simple to ignore, but criminals know very well what they are doing. That's why when an email arrives in your inbox threatening you with some official warning, you quickly tend to open the email to solve the problem.


However, if you click on a link and provide your personal data, especially bank details, you will fall for this scam and could be harmed.


Whaling

This is another very common type of phishing attack. This one is aimed at a specific person. You can understand that by analyzing the name, related to “whale”. Therefore, here the objective is to catch the "big fish".


That is, whaling-type phishing attacks target CEOs and CFOs of large companies. Typically, victims have access to confidential and strategic business information.


Also, imagine that you receive an internal company message sent directly by the person in the highest position in the organization. Another common way for a whaling attack to happen is by creating fake court summons.


In both cases, the message asks for your personal information. What is the natural reaction in this case?


With few exceptions, people quickly share the requested data. Thus, the whaling attack happens successfully and great losses can happen to the affected people.


Blind Phishing

Blind Phishing does not target a specific victim. Thus, the attacks happen to a lot of people at the same time, and the objective is that at least one of the people is deceived and falls for the scam.


This type of attack also happens via email, with a link for you to share your information with cyber criminals. Although it seems like a less effective type of attack because it is simpler, the truth is that some will be converted into successful crimes.


Spear Phishing

Finally, among the most common phishing attacks is spear phishing. This type of attack is the exact opposite of blind phishing. That is, there is a focus group very well defined by criminals.


Therefore, the objective, in this case, is to obtain specific information from a company or organization. The attack strategy, however, is very similar to other phishing attacks.


For example, an email will be carefully sent to make it look really genuine. However, when paying attention to details such as the URL in the address bar of the link, or the sender of the email itself, it is possible to observe failures.


Any different letters in the URL or a suspicious email address should be part of your search for signs of a scam.


What is the Smishing Attack


As there are several types of Phishing, these attacks are divided into other categories.

One of them is Smishing, a type of cyber attack done through text messages. The name itself comes from a mixture of SMS and phishing.


Through this means of contact, criminals want victims to take some action. Among them, is that the victim shares confidential and financial information.


People very often receive this type of attempted attack. And because criminals use social engineering in messages, people end up clicking on links or submitting personal information.


Check out the most common types of smishing attacks below.


Gift Smishing

This is an attack that offers a kind of gift to victims if they click on a certain link. For this, the most common thing is for rewards to be sent through social media.


Fake Services Smishing

This type of attack is called a fake service attack. In this way, the victim receives an email offering services related to devices such as computers.


In order to carry out the attack, criminals send attachments to victims in emails. These, in turn, contain malware that infects the device.


Financial Services Smishing

Another popular type of attack is related to banks. In this case, victims receive messages supposedly sent by financial institutions. In these messages, criminals send links to verify bank accounts.


However, what really happens is that people end up with their devices infected by malicious software.


What is Vishing Attack


Finally, the other category of Phishing attacks is called Vishing. That's because the scams happen using voice strategies. Thus, criminals use phone calls or even voice messages to practice attacks.


As happens with other types of attacks, victims believe they are being contacted by an important company or government agency. It is also extremely common to see scammers pretending to be bank employees, asking for victims' credit card information.


And when they believe that it’s a trustworthy person speaking, they end up sharing their personal information via voice message or call.


This type of attack is so common that many banks and companies advise their customers not to make this type of request for personal information over the phone. With these alerts, it is possible to reduce the number of successful scams, and help people to protect themselves more.


Below you will find the most common examples of Vishing attacks. Check it out so you can protect yourself.


Wardialing

In this attack, criminals use software that can find phone numbers in a list, place the call, and verify that the number actually exists.


In addition to this approach, another technique carried out is through voice calls. With this, people listen to recorded messages that are spoken automatically as soon as the person answers the cell phone.


If you've ever received a call on your cell phone, and when you answered the call it ended automatically, you may have been found by a software like this.


VoIP

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and it means that this type of attack does not require phones to be connected to a physical location.


In fact, if there is an internet connection, the numbers can make calls. And the reach here is global, as we're talking about an internet connection and not a local phone line.


This type of Vishing attack is increasingly popular because the costs are low and it is possible to reach a very large number of people in a few minutes. In addition, the identity of criminals is also better preserved than in other types of attacks.


How to Prevent Phishing, Smishing, and Vishing Attacks


There are several ways to prevent the attacks mentioned in this article. The first one is what you just did: get to know the types of scams that exist. In this way, with clarity of the tactics and strategies used, it is possible to prevent better.


However, many people already know how to identify this type of situation, but even so, they end up falling into scams, clicking on links, and consequently compromising personal and professional data.


In this sense, it is essential that companies have a trained IT team so that scams are minimized in a professional environment.


Do you have any questions or are you interested in learning more about our solutions?




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