An Overview Of Sharking Phishing Email In Cybersecurity
By Tom Seest
At BestCybersecurityNews, we help young learners and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.
Attackers utilize phishing attacks to lure unsuspecting victims into clicking links that lead to data breaches, identity theft, or ransomware attacks. A phishing attack may take the form of emails, instant messages, or texts sent directly.
Smishing involves sending fraudulent SMS texts, while vishing is a phone-based attack. Digital attackers employ techniques to bypass detection, such as altering brand logos in an attempt to fool security tools.
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Sharking is a cyber exploit that allows an attacker to remotely monitor and control a victim’s machine remotely, typically used as a method for cheating at online card games such as poker. But its uses extend far beyond card gaming; for instance, sharking could also be applied to other forms of online activities, potentially including harassment and coercion. Unfortunately, its widespread usage raises serious concerns as its use trivializes unacceptable predatory behavior, such as harassment and coercion, that should not occur online.
Cybercriminals may employ several other techniques to dupe victims, including link manipulation and URL hiding. For instance, they could shorten an email link in order to hide its destination, making it harder for victims to identify malicious links. They could also spoof HTTPS versions of websites to gain access to sensitive data from victims.
Sextortion attacks are another popular type of phishing attack, in which hackers claim they have gained entry to a victim’s computer and captured footage showing them watching adult material online, then demand money, usually in Bitcoin form from them as payment for this access.
One of the more sophisticated phishing attacks, known as watering hole phishing, involves an attacker researching their target company and finding websites its employees regularly visit, infiltrating those websites with malware before inducing visitors to visit it and download malicious code that takes them directly to a phishing website that then steals account credentials or hijacks social media accounts. To protect against watering hole phishing attacks, it’s crucial to stay current on security updates and monitor firewall rules; also, it is prudent to ignore emails with limited text or links as these often use deceive Exchange Online Protection (EOP) systems as they could fooled easily enough.
Phishing is a cybercriminal attack in which fake emails are used to persuade victims into providing personal information that is used for illegal gain – such as malware infections or websites that steal passwords and credit card numbers. Attackers typically employ email addresses that appear similar to legitimate organizations’, sometimes adding false names and logos that further authenticate their messages. Some phishing attacks target specific groups while others can reach millions of potential victims simultaneously.
Phishing attacks typically begin with hackers collecting personal and professional data from various public resources like social media, employer sites or business listings. With this information in hand, they then use it to craft convincing fake messages which they send out in hopes that some victims fall for it.
Other forms of phishing attacks include vishing, which involves conducting calls rather than email. A hacker contacts their target and claims to represent an established company like Microsoft or Apple before informing them that their computer has been infected and prompting them to click a link which takes them to a fake website that either steals their personal data or installs malware onto it.
Whaling attacks, targeting high-level executives from specific industries. Hackers will pose as customer support representatives to convince victims to click on malicious links that harvest personal data and mine it for profit. It is often effective as these victims often trust each other enough to divulge confidential details.
As most data breaches and hacking incidents involve some sort of phishing attempt to steal login credentials or infiltrate devices with malware, cybersecurity professionals must remain alert for various forms of phishing attacks. Although spam filters and intelligent detection may reduce the volume of phishing emails that reach users’ inboxes, humans often struggle with recognizing such scams – hence training should always be incorporated.
As opposed to phishing attacks, which put quantity over quality at the forefront, spear-phishing attacks are more tailored and tailored directly at their intended targets. This allows attackers to craft more convincing emails or texts which have higher odds of being successful, bypassing security measures which might otherwise work against an expansive audience of potential victims.
One example of spear phishing is the Ducktail campaign, which targeted HR professionals with emails appearing to come from their company’s security team and asking them to download documents from compromised websites. Each email included an attached macro that would download reconnaissance malware when clicked.
Vishing (Vhishing), another form of spear phishing, bypasses emails in favor of phone calls to gain information from victims. One attack involving UK parliament members involved vishing attacks in which attackers pretended to be their colleagues before calling them with malicious links in order to persuade them into clicking it and going to an unsafe website.
Whaling is a type of spear phishing designed to target high-value executives. This strategy seeks to obtain account credentials, providing access into corporate networks. As part of its attack method, whaling attacks often use more targeted approach; attackers research targeted individuals before creating more personalized attacks using public social media profiles and their official email addresses to find names of executives that can then be impersonated via fake emails sent out from attackers’ servers.
Phishing has long been a threat, with attacks often disguised as emails with misspellings or grammar mistakes that are easy to recognize (such as misspelled emails), while others can be more subtle – for example an email purporting that their company is being audited and needs you to click a link in order to provide sensitive data may be an example of such an attack.
Cybercriminals find phishing an effective tool because it exploits humans – who have long been identified as cybersecurity’s weakest link. According to the 2022 DBIR, 82% of breaches involve human error due to employees clicking malicious links or diving into fraudulent websites. Phishing can be minimized through training employees to always question suspicious emails and texts messages that may come their way.
Phishing can also be avoided through tools that block calls. This will keep attackers from calling businesses to gain access to sensitive information. Employee awareness programs must also be updated regularly with simulations designed to help employees recognize vishing calls.
Vishing (voice phishing) is a type of phishing attack which uses phone calls instead of email to gain information or gain money from victims. Vishing calls may claim they represent legitimate companies and ask for credentials so as to resolve an issue or verify an account, in an attempt to make money through theft or blackmail.
These scams have become all too prevalent, even among some of the largest companies. Twilio recently was subjected to a vishing attack targeting its employees that attempted to obtain their credentials by impersonating company representatives claiming that there had been an outbreak of viruses on one employee’s computer.
Whaling attacks involve malicious actors attempting to exploit high-value targets like senior executives. Such individuals often have access to company funds and confidential data that attackers seek access to; an impostor could pose as the finance manager and ask them to transfer money directly into their bank account via SMS text messages or telephone conversations – similar to email phishing but known as smishing/vishing attacks.
Whaling attacks are more sophisticated than other forms of phishing, as criminals possess access to personal and professional details about their targets that allow them to craft emails that appear credible. Criminals also make use of social media networks such as LinkedIn to learn about job roles or any other relevant details for these attacks.
Cybercriminals typically send emails with specific requests to their targets, such as asking for money transfer or document review services. Victims then unwittingly click on links within those emails, often unknowingly divulging sensitive data or installing malware that results in financial loss and reputational harm. These types of attacks can even compromise someone’s own IT systems!
The NCSC reports that sharking attacks often include phone calls to verify requests made over email, fake email addresses and use of fluent business language – designed to reassure victims their requests are valid by providing proof that it has been confirmed in person.
Education of employees and senior managers on how to recognize phishing attacks can reduce their likelihood of falling prey. But it’s important to keep in mind that some attacks can bypass even advanced user defenses; so to reduce risk, it is vitally important that companies implement a strong security plan with two-factor authentication, password management policies, training modules, etc.
Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may encounter cybersecurity attacks.