Spear Phishing: The Silent Cyber Threat You Need to Know About
Spear phishing defines to be an email or electronic-based scam whose main aim is to target a specific individual, company or business. Victims’ attention is usually grabbed by using clever. These attackers use individually designed techniques and social techniques to efficiently make these messages look more personalized. As the messages are personalized, even the top executives or senior management people can get caught in these types of attacks. Hackers take advantage to steal the data which is quite dangerous for the organization.
Traditional security is incapable as it doesn't stop these attacks as these attackers are clever enough. Hence, these cybercriminal attacks become more difficult to identify. One employee’s mistake can have serious consequences for businesses, governments and even nonprofit organizations. Attackers use this stolen data to reveal commercially sensitive information and commit various acts which are illegal and might be deadly for an organization. Spear phishing attacks are capable of deploying malware to hijack computers, organizing them into a variety of networks which are called botnets that are used for DOS attacks(Denial of Service).
To avoid such spear phishing attacks, we all need to be well aware of the possible threats, such as the possibility of fake emails landing in their inbox. Email security plays an important role and it should be on top priority. The next step is to make employees realize the importance of these attacks and help them get the necessary knowledge and training for the same.
Botnet name comes from 2 words – “robot” and “network”. As the name clearly says, this is a this robot based bot tool automates massive attacks and try to destroy/leak organization’s confidential/sensitive data. This may result in server crashing and malware distribution
Basic steps which a botnet uses are :
- Prepare and Expose : Cybercriminals exploit a vulnerability to expose users
- Infect the device: Devices get infected with malware that leads to taking control of their device.
- Activate: Cybercriminals use infected devices to carry out deadly attacks.
Hence we all need to be extremely alert when it comes to spear phishing which includes botnets.
Some common examples include:
- Hackers/cybercriminals who claim to be the CEO could trick the finance head to send money to their bank account if they successfully get their ids.
- Fake invoices /bills proves be an example which is used to trick/gain employee accounts which are payable which ends up in sending money sent to attackers.
- The email sender shows himself as a professional person stating that the account is about to expire and asks to open a link to change password which is redirected to their links which leads to dangerous attacks.
Any request to donate or send money to a specific group which is not properly validated can be a strategy/sign of spear phishing. We all must be alert and take steps considering everything in mind. Best practice is to always validate invoice before paying any type of invoice. These attackers use actual vendor names with fake ids to trick people.
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