As more and more business is conducted online, so does the amount of unscrupulous behavior on the internet increase. Phishing scams have been around since the birth of the internet, but advances in technology have also caused such scams to evolve. Though security software has come a long way in the field of advanced threat intelligence since then, phishing scams have only needed to get smarter and more convincing for them to succeed.

In the early days of the internet, most phishing scams involved installing some form of virus or malware onto your computer. Nowadays, 98 percent of them do not contain malware. Modern phishing scams, as many cyber intelligence analysts are discovering, rely more on older techniques—manipulation and the art of the con.

For better cyber attack prevention, we have created this list of the most common types of phishing scams attempted against individuals and organisations. With no further ado, here they are:


1. Spear phishing

Spear phishing is a type of scam that uses a customised and highly targeted approach against a single user. More often than not, cyber criminals impersonate employers, clients, banks representatives, and so on to lull victims into a sense of security. It is not unheard of for a spear phishing scam to perfectly mimic the look and feel of an official bank email, going so far as to copy their digital letterhead.

This type of scam became popular because of the amount of information the average person now posts on social media. Just the public information on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be enough to launch a convincing spear phishing attack against you.


2. Clone phishing

This is a variation of spear phishing. In clone phishing, hackers try to recreate a legitimate and previously opened email with a link or attachment—hence the term, “clone.” The new email often has an infected attachment, which can ransom your files or steal your information.


3. Whaling

This is a cyber attack directed at company executives. They are, more often than not, used to squeeze out information from their targets. They also use a mix of social media scouting and careful trickery to do so, which is why they’re terrifyingly effective.


4. Vishing

Vishing or voice phishing is one of the oldest forms of social engineering and manipulation. Nowadays, however, it uses an internet phone service (VoIP), using incredibly sophisticated automated messages and talented con artists.

Vishing scams have evolved to the point where hackers and scammers can fake caller IDs and pretend to be someone else. They could pretend to be a representative of the IRS to trigger you into distress, at which point they will begin to ask for your information or money transfers to settle false debts and so on.


Final thoughts

The most effective anti-phishing solution is to know what phishing looks like before it can happen. By understanding how phishing works and recognising its subtle signs, you can prevent yourself and your loved ones from being manipulated into giving out your money and information.

If you’re looking for advanced threat intelligence solutions, send us a message at FraudWatch International. We have the skills and smarts to help you avoid all manner of cyber attacks.