The Ultimate Guide To Phishing Techniques: Things You Need To Know About Phishing

Let’s talk about the different types of phishing attacks used by cybercriminals.

Phishing attacks come in various forms, and in this article, we are going to discuss the different techniques used by phishers to trick people. As technology gets more advanced, the phishing techniques have also been growing more sophisticated.

To avoid falling in to the hands of hackers and phishers, users need to educate themselves about phishing and the techniques used by phishing scams to target victims.

Spear Phishing

In the early days of phishing, hackers adopted a “spray and pray” strategy, in which they send emails to as many users as possible and wait for the victims to commit mistakes. Unlike those, spear-phishing is a phishing technique that targets a specific individual or an organization. 

Spear-phishers take their time to do in-depth research on the target to create a more personalized attack. As the attackers know the habits and weaknesses of their targets very well, spear-phishing attacks have more success rates than regular phishing attacks. Most of the times, the targeted victim falls into their trap without any difficulty.

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​Session Hijacking 

Session hijacking is another phishing technique where hackers take control of another user’s computer session to gain access to sensitive information in their system.


This phishing technique is also known as cookie hijacking and session sniffing. Here, hackers use some sniffer software to intercept all communication from the victim’s computer and gain access to the webserver unauthorized.


Spoof Email

Email is one of the primary weapons used in phishing. The spoof email is another phishing technique where attackers send a fake email to millions of users. The email typically convinces the user by impersonating a famous brand and asks the user to fill out a form by providing their personal and accounts information.


Most of the spoof emails come marked as urgent. These emails come with subject lines like “your account has been suspended.” These kinds of subject lines can make the user at the other end nervous, who then make unintentional mistake of handling out their important information.


The email further asks the users to log in to their account to activate it again. These phishing emails come with malicious URLs that will take users to fake websites and collect all the information the user enters. Once the details are collected, the user gets redirected to the original site.


Content Injection

Content injection is another method of phishing where hackers try to inject their desired content on another popular website. This type of injection is generally done by the hackers to mislead people to a malicious website and to collect sensitive information from them.



Web-Based Delivery

Another sophisticated phishing technique used by hackers is the web-based delivery where the attackers intercept the transaction activities of legitimate users.


Once the user starts filling up the form, the user details entered in the form gets transferred to the phishers. Like many other phishing attacks, the victims never know that they are fooled unless they see their bank account wiped off.


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Search Engine Phishing

A phishing technique that involves search engines is termed as search engine phishing. The search results may send users to websites that offer low-cost products or sites that offer cheap deals.


Once the user clicks on the product links and tries to purchase the product, he or she falls into the trap. The phishers will collect all credit card information and other personal information.


Link Manipulation

Phishing is all about malicious URLs, attachments, and websites. In this form of phishing, the phishers trick users into visiting a bogus website, which is a replica of a popular website. All the details entered on that website will be collected by the hackers for nefarious purposes.


A closely-related phishing technique is called deceptive phishing. These types of phishing techniques deceive targets by building fake websites. The success of such scams depends on how closely the phishers can replicate the original sites.


Vishing (Voice Phishing)

Vishing is a phishing technique where hackers make phone calls to unsuspecting victims.


During the phone call, the hackers impersonate bank officials, IRA agents, or other financial firm representatives and convince users to reveal their login credentials to accounts and personal information.




Keylogging is a sophisticated phishing technique where hackers install the malware in users’ computers, and, using this malware, they can easily track every input from the users’ keyboards.


The malware sends every key pressed by the target to hackers so that they can effortlessly gain access to the passwords and other personal information. Secure websites started using virtual keyboards to prevent keylogging frauds.


Smishing (SMS Phishing)

While we call phishing attacks via voice or phone calls as vishing, those attacks delivered through SMS or text messages are known as smishing. Hackers send text messages to users, convincing them to click on the links in the texts that lead to a malicious website for luring them into providing their information.


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A Trojan (or a Trojan Horse) is a type of malware used by phishers. They often disguise the software to look like legitimate software.


Unsuspecting users can easily fall prey to the attack, and when they start using the software, all their personal information gets quickly transferred to the hackers.



Malware is malicious software that is specially designed to steal users’ data or damage the computer.


 Hackers attach malware in phishing emails, and when users download these attachments, the malware settles into the user’s computer and start functioning. Some hackers also attach this malicious software along with some downloadable files.



A type of phishing technique in which phishers use ads designed to cause damage to the victim’s computer or steal information is called as malvertising.


Hackers create these malicious ads embedded with active scripts that download malware into the user’s system. Hackers mostly use the loopholes in Adobe Flash and PDF files for malvertising.



Ransomware is another kind of malicious software that is explicitly designed to block access to the user’s computer or a set of data. Only when the victim pays the ransom demanded by hackers will the phishers release the ransomware and grant access to the system.


Hackers install ransomware through malvertising, malicious attachments, and malware, etc.



The above guide will help organizations and individuals to get a basic understanding of the various types of phishing techniques. Hackers have been very successful in using these phishing techniques to trick innocent users. The adversaries are getting smarter day by day, and we can see them developing and employing new strategies very frequently.


To avoid becoming a victim of these phishing frauds, we need to keep a close watch on the new techniques adopted by phishers. Organizations also need to train their employees and conduct regular security awareness programs to stay on top of these phishing scams.


Please feel free to post your comments and suggestions in the feedback section below.

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