7 More Phishing Strategies That May Be Targeting Your Company Right Now & How To Identify Them

by | October 18, 2021 | How to, ATTACK Simulator Guides, Cybersecurity

With all the cyber dangers lurking in the dark corners of the Internet, it’s time you discover another seven common phishing strategies that may be threatening your company as you read this.

Phishing is the root cause of devastating ransomware attacks, data theft, and so on. Keep reading to learn about some more techniques that scammers use to net big payouts.

Phishing strategies have evolved into highly sophisticated approaches over the years.

Phishing – What Is It?

In a phishing attack, the phisher poses as a person or entity that the target would trust and hand over sensitive information to. Usually, it happens via an email that contains a malicious attachment (malware, trojan, a PDF or DOC file, etc) or a link that redirects the recipient to a credential-stealing phishing site. From this point on, breaking into your company’s entire system is a piece of cake.

7 Phishing Strategies To Watch Out For

1. HTTPS Phishing

The HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) is thought to be a “safe” URL to click on because it uses encryption to maximize security. Most reputable companies now use HTTPS and not HTTP, for it gives a strong sense of legitimacy. However, scammers are actively exploiting HTTPS in the links that they include in phishing emails. How to spot it:

When trying to decide whether or not a link is legitimate, keep in mind:

  • Shortened link: Make sure that the link is in its original, long-tail form and displays all parts of the URL.
  • Hypertext: These are “clickable” links embedded into the text to hide the real URL.

2. Angler Phishing

Much like vishing and smishing, angler phishing is an attack in which scammers exploit notifications or direct messaging features in a social media app to persuade a target to take the desired action.

How to spot it:

  • Notifications: Be cautious of notifications that say you’ve been added to a post as these can include links that redirect you to malicious sites.
  • Unusual DMs: Be wary of direct messages from people who don’t usually use this feature because the account might be spoofed, or illicitly recreated.
  • URLs to websites: Do not click a link in a DM, even if it appears genuine, unless you know that the sender has a habit of sharing interesting links with you this way.

3. Pharming

Pharming is a more technical and difficult-to-detect approach, in which hackers hijack a DNS (Domain Name Server) to translate URLs into IP addresses. Then, when the target enters the website address, the DNS server redirects them to a poisoned site’s IP address that looks legitimate.

How to spot it:

  • Unsecured site: Beware of websites that are HTTP, not HTTPS.
  • Website irregularities: Keep an eye out for any inconsistencies that may indicate a fake site, such as mismatched colors, spelling errors, or unusual fonts.

4. ‘Evil Twin’

Evil twin phishing attacks use a fake WiFi hotspot, disguising it to seem genuine, that can intercept data during transfer. When someone uses the hotspot, the scammers collect their data, such as login credentials or sensitive information entered on a website.

How to spot it:

  • “Unsecure”: Do not trust any hotspot that triggers an “unsecure” warning on your device.
  • Needs login: Any hotspot that usually does not require you to login but suddenly asks you to do so is suspicious.

5. Watering Hole Phishing

The watering hole approach is a sophisticated phishing attack that starts with scammers researching the websites that your employees visit often. Then, they infect the IP address with malicious downloads or code. When an employee lands on the website, they unknowingly download the poisoned code.

How to spot it:

  • Browser alerts: If a web browser says that a site might not be secure, do not go through to the website, even if it’s a familiar one.
  • Monitor firewalls: Make sure that firewall rules are updated and supervised to prevent inbound traffic from a compromised site.

6. Search Engine Phishing

This type of online scam uses search engines to direct users to sites that pretend to offer low-price products or services. The user then tries to buy it and enters credit card information. The phishing system grabs it and uses it to empty the victim’s bank account.

How to spot it:

  • Deals too good to be true: Be wary of products or services advertised online that are too cheap.
  • Sketchy websites: Be cautious of the websites that you enter your data on. Do not give away your personal/financial information on websites unless you check them thoroughly and trust them.

7. Link Manipulation

The phisher sends the target a deceptive, malicious link to a phishing website. If the target falls for it and clicks the link, they will be redirected to a copy of a genuine website. You can view the actual address by hovering the mouse over the link.

How to spot it:

  • Suspicious links: Do not click on links in suspicious emails.
  • Check the real address: Hover your mouse over the URL to reveal the real link.

Defend Your Business With ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training

Phishing has been on the rise for a while now and has become painfully costly, especially for organizations of all kinds. The bad news is researchers expect it to become even worse.

So, what can you do to avoid such nasty incidents? Well, the bad guys don’t sleep, so neither should you sleep on their strategies. Keep in mind that they usually go for the weakest link in the chain – your employees. Thus, you need to prioritize educating them on relevant cybersecurity practices to keep scammers at bay.

Researching the latest phishing trends and strategies and properly training your employees can be a hassle, so leave it to professionals.

Here, at ATTACK Simulator, we put ourselves in the attacker’s shoes as we believe that understanding their thinking and actions is vital in designing an accurate simulation.

Here are a few perks of our approach to phishing simulations:

  • Automated attack simulation – we simulate all kinds of cyberattacks.
  • Real-life scenarios – we evaluate users’ vulnerability to give company or pesonal data away using realistic web-pages.
  • User behaviour analysis – we gather user data and compile it in extensive reports to give you a detailed picture of your employees’ security awareness level.
  • Malicious file replicas – our emails contain malware file repilcas, to make the simulation as realistic as it can be.
  • Interactive lessons – if employees fail to recognize our traps and fall into one, they will discover lessons on the best security practices.
  • Brand impersonation – we impersonate popular brands to make the phishing simulations all the more realistic.

Choose to be safe and request your quote for our comprehensive Security Awareness Training program today.


Online illustrations by Storyset

Social media illustrations by Storyset

Web illustrations by Storyset

by Diana Panduru

Content writer for Attack Simulator. Passionate about all things writing and cybersecurity, and obsessed with driving. I sometimes indulge in pencil drawing, poetry, and cooking for fun.

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