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Difference between Spam and Phishing Mail

Last Updated : 29 Mar, 2023
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Spam Mail:

 Spam (also known as junk mail) is an unsolicited email. In most cases, spam is a method of advertising. However, spam can send harmful links, malware, or deceptive content. The end goal is to obtain sensitive information such as a social security number or bank account information. Most spam comes from multiple computers on networks infected by a virus or worm. These compromised computers send out as much bulk email as possible. 

Features of Spam Emails:

  • Spam emails are typically sent for advertising purposes or to promote products or services.
  • Spam emails often contain misleading or false information to deceive the recipient.
  • Spam emails are often sent from unknown or untraceable sources.
  • Spam emails are often sent without the recipient’s consent or knowledge.
  • Spam emails may contain links to malicious websites or contain attachments with viruses or malware.

The key characteristics of spam emails are:

  • They are unsolicited: Spam emails are sent to a large number of recipients without their permission or consent.
  • They are commercial in nature: Spam emails often contain advertising or promotions for products or services.
  • They are sent in bulk: Spam emails are typically sent to a large number of people, often using automated tools.
  • They often contain false or misleading information: Spam emails may contain false or misleading information in order to trick recipients into taking action.

Phishing Mail: 

Phishing is a form of fraud. Cybercriminals use email, instant messaging, or other social media to try to gather information such as login credentials by masquerading as a reputable person. Phishing occurs when a malicious party sends a fraudulent email disguised as being from an authorized, trusted source. The message’s intent is to trick the recipient into installing malware on his or her device or into sharing personal or financial information. 

Features of Phishing Emails:

  • Phishing emails are designed to appear as if they are from a legitimate source, such as a bank or a social media platform.
  • Phishing emails often contain urgent or alarming messages to persuade the recipient to take immediate action.
  • Phishing emails often contain links to fake websites that resemble legitimate websites, in order to steal login credentials or other personal information.
  • Phishing emails often use social engineering tactics to trick the recipient into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware.
  • Phishing emails may also contain attachments with malware or viruses.

The key characteristics of phishing emails are:

  • They are deceptive: Phishing emails are designed to look like they come from a legitimate source, such as a bank, social media platform, or other trusted entity.
  • They are targeted: Phishing emails are often targeted at specific individuals or groups, rather than being sent to a large number of people.
  • They contain requests for personal information: Phishing emails often contain requests for personal information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, or social security numbers.
  • They use social engineering tactics: Phishing emails often use social engineering tactics to trick recipients into revealing personal information, such as creating a sense of urgency or using emotional appeals.


  • Both spam and phishing emails are sent in bulk to a large number of recipients.
  • Both types of emails can be used to distribute malware or viruses.
  • Both types of emails can be used to steal personal information, such as login credentials or financial information.

Let’s see the Difference Between Spam and Phishing Mail:

1 Spam emails is referred to as junk email and is unsolicited messages sent in bulk by email. Phishing emails are fraudulent emails designed to steal users private information and data.
2 Spam emails are a form of commercial advertising designed to flood the email inbox of users. Phishing is a social engineering attack on the mail and often carried out via emails with the intention of obtaining sensitive information
3 Spam is basically junk email flooding the inbox. Phishing is not just limited to emails.
4 Spam emails utilize commercial content. Phishing emails utilize strong social engineering techniques.
5 It is an electronic equivalent of unsolicited email. It is the equivalent of an is users’ act of illicitly obtaining users’ information
6. Spam mail main is sent by botnets. There are multiple types of Phishing emails for example -:
Clone phishing, angler phishing
7. Spam mails are dangerous because they contains malicious links that can infect our computer with malware. We can prevent our device from Phishing mails by Implementing SPF, DKIM and DMARC.

Examples include-

  • You’ve Won! lottery worth $2,00,000
  • Advertising (retailers, online pharmacies, gambling, etc)
  • Fake virus alerts
  • Email chains and more.

Examples include-

  • Requesting personal data
  • Instructing consumers to access a link or a surprise attachment
  • Verify your password or account information.
  • Send a message of urgency

Conclusion :

spam emails are unsolicited messages that are typically sent in bulk and contain commercial or misleading information. Phishing emails, on the other hand, are targeted scams that aim to trick people into revealing personal or sensitive information. By understanding the differences between spam and phishing emails, individuals and organizations can better protect themselves against email fraud.

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