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What is a Spear Phishing Attack and How to Protect Ourselves Against It?

spear phishing attack

Spear Phishing attack belongs to the family of email-based cyber-attacks. It is categorized as a highly personalized attack and usually targets a specific individual. Apart from this, unlike normal phishing emails, its emails are strategically designed so that victims can trust its source and click on the attachment. 

It impersonates an official or a known source and aims at doing illegal activities like identity theft, stealing of personal and confidential information, and much more. 

To bypass the security walls of your device the emails used in Spear Phishing attacks deploy social engineering tactics along with zero-day links and spoofing techniques. 

Main Form Of Spear Phishing attacks? 

Some of the most common forms of Spear Phishing attacks are: 

  • Business Email Compromise (BEC): In this form of attack the source of the email is mimicked as a government organization, business partner, law enforcement body, etc.
  • Brand Impersonation attack: Here the sender masquerades itself as a well-known brand. 
  • Blackmail: Here, the email is designed to blackmail and accuse victims of downloading sexual and adult content and are asked to pay a ransom amount to the hackers to maintain anonymity.

Facts and figures show that around 83 % of the attacks are based on brand impersonation and prove to be more effective in luring innocent users.

Dangers Associated With A Spear Phishing Attack

Here are some of the threats associated with a Spear Phishing attack.

  1. Theft of Intellectual property and key personal information.
  2. Identity theft.
  3. Sexploitation and blackmail.
  4. Theft of financial information and stealing of bank and credit card information.
  5. It can also infect your device with other malware and deliver ransomware. 

How To Prevent Being A Victim Of Spear Phishing?

Making your web environment more secure will help you fight Spear Phishing in a better way, here are few simple yet useful prevention and protection tips that will ensure security. 

  • Use Artificial Intelligence to build secure email controls and gateways: Deploy solutions that can detect and block phishing emails in the first place. 
  • Use Multi-factor Authentication: Thus helps you create multiple security walls and keeps you protected against digital threats in a much better way. 
  • Trust your Instinct and stay vigilant: Never click or open an email whose source you are not sure of. Be fully cautious of all your online actions.
  • Develop standard email etiquettes and operating procedures to guard confidential information.
  • Keep your device up-to-date with the latest security patches. 
  • Use DMARC technology to validate and check the authenticity of all the emails you receive. 
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