As a passionate follower of our blog, you must have learned a lot about Phishing. Nevertheless, scammers always come up with more sophisticated ways to lure victims into their traps. Therefore, you should update yourself on cybersecurity knowledge. Today we are going to talk about spear phishing, a phishing of great concern nowadays.

What is spear phishing?

You may confuse spear phishing with phishing, since they share the same objective: to steal data or install malware on victims’ computers. However, they are indeed different. Phishing is a broader term for any attempt to trick victims into sharing sensitive information for malicious reasons, whereas spear phishing is a more effective variant of phishing. Phishing tactics may mean casting net wide or delivering mass emails to random individuals, expecting someone to take the bait, while spear phishing targets a specific individual, organization or business.

How does spear phishing work?

Spear phishing requires more thought and time to achieve than phishing. Spear-phishing attackers might scan a social networking site such as Facebook to collect individuals’ personal information. For example, from a profile, a phisher may find an individual’s email address, friends list, location, and any posts about new things the person recently purchased. With all the information, the phisher would be able to disguise as a trustworthy friend or entity and make contact with the target via email or other platforms.

To increase their chance of fooling recipients, attackers often send messages containing “urgent explanations on why they need sensitive information.” Then they probably ask victims to click a suspicious link or open a malevolent attachment, which leads the latter to a bogus website. On the website, victims are asked to provide private info such as account numbers, passwords and even credit card details. The result can be financial loss for victims and even some crimes committed using their identities.

What to do with spear phishing?

Because of the personal level of these emails, it is more difficult to identify spear-phishing attacks than general phishing attacks. This is why spear phishing is becoming more prevalent. Since everyone can be a potential target for spear phishing, you should take pre-emptive actions. Mr. Post would then be your go-to helper. Mr. Post, an add-in for Outlook, is a free and convenient protective cover that warns you of spear phishing with merely one click and safeguards your email security.