Email phishing is a deception technique that aims to obtain sensitive information about you or your business. Phishing emails not only come in many forms, but they have grown increasingly sophisticated over the years. Since they are always changing, it’s important to learn about the different scams so that you can prepare yourself for future attacks.
Generally speaking, phishing emails are scams disguised as legitimate emails, and sometimes they are obvious, but other times they are hard to detect. Often, the goal is to get you to click on a link or divulge private information, but there are several different tactics and a few different types of phishing emails.
3 Different Types of Phishing Emails
There are three distinct types of phishing emails that you should be aware of. The better you understand phishing emails, the better you will be able to spot a suspicious message in your inbox. The three common types include:
- Spear Phishing: Spear phishing is when an email targets a specific individual, company, or organisation in hopes of gathering personal information. The tactics used may vary, as each hacker will have a different type of target. Sometimes these include links that take you to websites that are consistent with the company the attacker is trying to mimic.
- Clone Phishing: This is where hackers create “clones” of emails that have already been delivered to you in the past. These clones contain malicious content and attachments.
- Whaling: The major difference between phishing and whaling is size of the target. Whaling is when phishers go after CEOs, customer service directors, and other leading individuals.
Spotting Phishing Emails
Phishing comes in many forms, so it’s important that you read up on how to spot a phishing email so that you can be better prepared, especially if you own a business or are in a management position. There are several ways to recognise phishing emails as they appear, but you can even do things such as convert your email to plain text. When you convert your message to plain text, you can reveal any URLs that might be hidden in images.
Otherwise, when you want to spot a phishing email, you need to look at the sender, look at the links, and look at the message itself. Poor spelling and grammar, for example, are common in a phishing email.
What Else Can You Do to Protect Yourself
One of the best ways to avoid phishing emails altogether is to download software that targets them. To avoid filtering your own email and checking each message for legitimacy, you can install a software that filters your emails for you.
With this kind of spam software, all of your emails go through a filter, and the software detects emails that aren’t legitimate, ensuring that the phishing attacks never even make it to your inbox. Of course, there is a chance the software might filter out a legitimate email, in which case you would be able to go into the software and retrieve emails that you need back.