Spear Phishing vs Phishing: Is There a Difference?

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, especially with so many things going digital. Staying informed about the potential crimes can help your organization fend off attacks, such as phishing.

When it comes to spear phishing vs phishing, you may think they’re the same thing, but they’re not.

Read on to find out the differences.

What is phishing?

So What is Phishing? phishing is when cybercriminals send out scam emails en masse in hope of catching something with their “net.” The sheer volume is what makes them so successful. The more people they reach out to, the higher the chances of gleaning credentials and sensitive information.

Phishing takes minimal effort since there’s no tailoring that has to be done to the emails. All the scammers have to do is create a generic email, hit send, and wait for people to click on their malicious links. Here you can see spear phishing examples so you can familarize yourself.

The main aim of phishing is to get login credentials so they can hijack people’s finances.

MORE : How to Protect Against Phishing?

How is spear phishing different?

Spear phishing is also a type of phishing, but more specific. The concept is the same: cybercriminals run scams by masquerading as a trusted person or institution. But spear phishing is more believable. Also, the goal is different: trade secrets are usually what they’re looking for.

Spear phishing takes more effort on the scammer’s part. Instead of sending out a generic email to thousands of people, they may email just a few select victims (either a person or a whole office).

These emails contain information that makes them highly convincing, such as personal details about the victim. This can include names of their friends, places they frequent, and favorite pastimes. The cyber criminals do thorough research on their targets to maximize believability.

Because of this, even the most well-trained professionals can succumb to spear phishing attempts. You can reduce phishing threat by using spear phishing prevention solution and with phishing prevention best practices.

For example, in 2011, security company RSA was spear phished through email. An employee clicked on an attachment which installed remote access software. This enabled the scammers to access the company’s sensitive data.

MORE : How to Identify a Phishing Email

Stop phishing and spear phishing attempts

Even with proper education, it can be hard to tell the difference between phishing and spear phishing. But with decent phishing prevention software, you won’t have to. This ensures that you’ll prevent spear phishing attack from ever reaching your inbox.

Most of the trouble from phishing stems from people falling for scam emails, so if you stop their delivery, the chances of your organization falling victim to a phishing attack are very minimal.


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