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Spear-Phishing Attack

  • Last Updated : 29 Dec, 2020

This attack is used to target any specific organization or an individual for unauthorized access. These types of attacks are not initiated by any random hacker, but these attacks are initiated by someone who seeks information related to financial gain or some important information. Just like the phishing attack spear-phishing also comes from a trusted source. This type of attack is much successful. It is considered to be one of the most successful methods as both of the attacks(that is phishing and spear-phishing) is an online attack on users.

Phishing Vs Spear-Phishing :

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  • Phishing –
    This method is used to attack a large number of users with the expectation that many will respond to the email. But there are only fewer people who respond to this kind of email. The email that will be sent to the user can be sent in many forms like in the form of an attachment or the form of a link. For Example; – An email is sent to the user that he/she has won a lucky draw winner and please click on the below link. Now the user without verifying whether the user has won or not they will click on the link and malware might be downloaded into the system of the user. Or the user might be taken to an infected website where they will ask for some information related to the bank details.



  • Spear-Phishing –
    This method is used to attack an individual from a specific organization. and they target the individual through social media and other information that is available in public. The type of email that the specific user or the target will get may be related to the menu for some restaurants. So when the user clicks on the link to see the menu of the restaurant that came as an advertisement in the email, malware might get installed in the device of the user. Through this, they will try to do as much harm they can do.

Function of Spear-Phishing :
It targets those users who put their personal information on the internet like in social media. Now they (the attacker) will create a fake email id and try to send a mail that contains the malicious attachment or link. The email is sent in the form that a company name XYZ is giving a sale for some products. When the user will open the link that is in the email, to visit the website, they will be redirected to a page where the user has to provide some information like password, account numbers, and more. Now the criminal has got enough information about the user which is confidential and they can create a new identity using the information they got.

Symptoms that the user is affected by the spear-phishing attack :

  1. When the message will be like they are requesting to click on the link.
  2. The user may get some messages like, his friend is asking for money through email.
  3. The email seems to be urgent and is asking to take action much faster.
  4. The email that is sent making it feel like they are asking for information that seems to be personal or confidential.

Prevention of the Spear-Phishing attack :

  1. Do not try to open any suspicious email attachments.
  2. Do not try to open any link which may seem suspicious.
  3. Do not try to provide any sensitive information like personal information or banking information via email, text, or messages.
  4. Always the user should have an antivirus to make sure the system is affected by the system or not.
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