An Overview Of Vishing In Cybersecurity
By Tom Seest
At BestCybersecurityNews, we help young learners and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.
Vishing is a form of phishing that uses voice communication rather than email communication to deceive victims into providing money or personal details. Cybercriminals commonly utilize calls that appear to come from banks, credit card companies, or service providers when targeting victims of this scam.
An automated or live caller, either automated or live, claims the victim’s account has been compromised and instructs them to contact another number for help. Victims typically provide sensitive data or account credentials when asked.
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Table Of Contents
Vishing, which stands for voice and phishing, refers to any cyberattack that exploits people’s trust of phones and voices to collect sensitive data that can then be used for identity theft, fraud or unauthorized financial account access. Vishing attacks may target both individuals as well as businesses; in a business setting they could target employees, managers and executive-level staff members.
At its heart, vishing attacks involve criminals posing as trusted parties such as banks or law enforcement calling a victim and convincing them to share personal or account information – such as passwords, account numbers, routing number and PIN – or download malicious software through social engineering strategies such as trust, fear, greed and desire to assist. Victims are duped into divulging this data through trust-building techniques such as fear-monetization strategies like trust-monetization.
Criminals attempting vishing attacks usually begin by conducting online phishing scams using fake profiles on auction websites or other sources to gather data such as social media account details or company/personal details that will make their call appear more credible to potential targets. Once they have this contact number they can initiate targeted vishing calls much more likely to succeed as the target will think they are dealing with an established source.
Vishing calls usually begin with an automated recording alerting victims that their credit card or bank account has been compromised and provides them with a number to call for assistance. When calling this number, victims often hear an automated voice that sounds very similar to one from their bank or financial institution and must follow its instructions, often entering sensitive data into keypads or punching in numbers into an automated system.
Spear vishing is an advanced variation of vishing that uses information about the target to make their calls seem more credible and believable, such as by falsifying bank caller ID numbers or producing deepfake audio to trick victims into thinking they are dealing with reliable sources like their doctor, IRS representative or Medicare representative.
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Vishing (a portmanteau of voice and phishing) involves defrauding victims over the phone through social engineering techniques known as vishing. Cybercriminals generally call from various toll-free or local area codes and pose as banks, businesses or other organizations attempting to convince their target account has been compromised and collecting financial data as proof. They then may try convincing victims into taking actions such as transferring money, changing passwords or downloading malware.
Attackers typically target individuals and businesses for financial gain. Individuals could fall prey to vishing attacks that use fraudulent schemes to acquire social security numbers and financial details while business networks could also fall prey.
Vishing (voice phishing) attacks aim to gain sensitive personal data from victims over the phone, such as credit card details or network login credentials. Because there’s no way for victims to verify credentials during phone conversations, vishing attacks are more difficult to counteract than other types of phishing attempts.
One of the most frequent forms of vishing involves calling to report computer issues. An attacker will use soothing tones and an impostor recording from a known business to make their call seem legitimate, then ask their target to call back a toll-free number in order to provide information or install software to address their problems. It can be hard to recognize this form of fraud since cybercriminals will frequently alter caller ID settings.
Other forms of vishing involve calls offering prizes or giveaways, or promising free money or investment opportunities – often the most successful form. Assailants also frequently use scare tactics such as threatening lawsuits or government agencies to convince their targets to divulge private data.
Vishing can be prevented by not responding to unsolicited phone calls from companies with which a victim does business regularly, even those from companies they already trust. Signing up for the National Do Not Call List or its regional equivalent should help block most telemarketers but may not fully stop fraudsters who pose as legitimate organizations. It’s also wise to verify whether any business calling from public phone numbers, and avoid responding to voice-automated prompts or pressing buttons on caller interface.
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Cybercriminals use vishing as a technique for obtaining sensitive data and account details from victims. By creating a sense of urgency and trust with their targets, cybercriminals create the opportunity to capture valuable information without thinking. They might claim an account has been compromised or their credit card frozen before asking the victim for personal details over the phone or sending money transfers.
Vishing attacks often use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems, making it harder for law enforcement to track and stop them. Furthermore, scammers using VoIP often outsource their activities to individuals or companies in different countries which further complicates efforts at stopping vishing scams.
Victims can protect themselves by being aware of red flags of vishing attacks. If a call appears suspicious or requires the victim to press buttons, hang up and dial a different number immediately. While the National Do Not Call registry helps reduce telemarketing and vishing calls, it does not prevent all calls. Never provide private information over the phone and do not grant remote access for anyone; legitimate organizations will never ask you for this permission – which should serve as a red flag against vishing attacks.
Avoid calling numbers that appear in the Caller ID; this is a common form of vishing scams as this information can easily be falsified. Also be wary when calling numbers listed as caller ID on websites or calling customer service numbers listed as customer contacts for legitimate businesses.
Should a suspected vishing attack arise, inform both authorities and IT department immediately in order to investigate and protect other employees. Training employees on how to recognize and respond to vishing threats can help lower risks; additionally it is imperative that IT professionals perform regular examinations of VoIP apps and logs for any suspicious or unusual activities which could indicate root causes and prevent more widespread issues from emerging.
This photo was taken by Mikhail Nilov and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-wearing-black-leather-jacket-8107910/.
Education on vishing threats and how to recognize them can be one of the most effective means of combatting vishing attacks. Training also can help employees stay vigilant when engaging with customers who may become targets of these schemes.
One way to maintain safety for your business is to register with the National Do Not Call Registry or its equivalent in your country to block unsolicited calls, though this won’t always work since some may still get through. Before answering calls that ask for sensitive data or prompt you to press buttons, always verify the identity of callers before responding – numbers displayed on caller ID may be falsified!
An effective strategy for combatting vishing is allowing unidentified calls to go directly to voicemail, while some businesses even enforce policies of never answering calls from unknown numbers. While this approach works, make sure all employees understand to verify caller identities before providing personal data or sharing personal details with anyone over the phone.
Cybercriminals have become adept at conducting vishing attacks, employing sophisticated technology to conceal their location, automate their operations and fake their voices by applying fake accents. Furthermore, VoIP features can enable cybercriminals to circumvent caller ID spoofing measures as well as other security measures.
Vishing attacks aim to steal private information such as credit card or bank account details for financial gain or to sell this information on. They may even gain entry to victim’s accounts by accessing passwords and codes to download malware onto them.
Vishing attackers often utilize fear and greed to manipulate victims into taking certain actions. For instance, they might convince a victim that their credit card or bank account has been compromised, asking them to call a phone number or send sensitive data over text messaging. Vishing attacks also use war dialers that call multiple targets at once while pretending to represent organizations such as Medicare or the IRS.
Arctic Wolf’s Managed Detection and Response solution can protect your business against vishing by identifying anomalous programs that install without authorization and stopping their attack in its tracks.
This photo was taken by Mikhail Nilov and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-wearing-a-leather-jacket-8107912/.
Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may encounter cybersecurity attacks.