14 Phishing Techniques Your Employees Need To Be Aware Of

by | July 23, 2021 | How to, ATTACK Simulator Guides

The Internet is a wonderful place where you can find answers to almost anything, but nasty threats lurk in its dark corners, waiting for the perfect victim to “phish.”

Phishing techniques are becoming sneakier and more sophisticated as technology becomes more advanced.

To successfully prevent phishing attacks, you should provide your employees with solid knowledge of the phishing techniques that the bad guys use. Furthermore, they should be equipped with the best anti-phishing practices for every existing phishing method to protect themselves, and their business.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a cyberattack in which cybercriminals pretend to be a reputable entity or person, engaging various ways of online communication to distribute malicious links or attachments that can perform a variety of functions, but to one single end: stealing the victim’s data for financial gain.

This type of online fraud uses subtle and cunning social engineering strategies that allow cybercriminals who leverage human trust to steal the victim’s sensitive data, which is a lot easier than breaching a computer’s or a network’s defenses.

What Are The Phishing Techniques Your Employees Should Be Aware Of?

Phishing techniques keep up with technology development, which means the list below will never cover them all. But they will always follow one single premise: human error (misplaced trust, uneducated actions).

All being said, let’s dive right into the 14 most common phishing techniques out there.

1. Spear Phishing

Unlike traditional phishing, when attackers use untargeted mass email distribution and hope they will trick as many people as possible, spear-phishing attacks are personalized and launched at a specific organization or individual after solid research on the target.

2. Session Hijacking

This phishing method exploits the web session control mechanism to extract the user’s information. Known as ‘session sniffing,’ the phisher can utilize a sniffer to gather relevant data to help them illicitly access the Web server.

3. Email/Spam

The simplest and most frequently used of phishing techniques consists of sending out a malicious email to millions of users, requesting them to fill in personal information.

The fake message often has a sense of urgency, asking the victim to enter their credentials, update account information, verify accounts, or access a malicious link provided in the email.

Phishing techniques involve asking victims to fill in their credentials on a fake login page

4. Web-Based Delivery

This is one of the most sophisticated phishing techniques today. The hacker places themselves between the real website and the phishing system, a strategy also known as ‘man-in-the-middle.’

The phiser gathers the victim’s personal information as they enter it on the legitimate website during a transaction. The user cannot detect the data exfiltration.

5. Content Injection

The hacker partially changes the content on a reputable website.

The purpose is to make the target more likely to go to a page outside of the legitimate site, where they are asked to enter personal information.

6. Search Engines Phishing

This type of online scam use search engines to direct the user 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.

7. Voice Phishing (Vishing)

Voice Phishing consists of hackers making phone calls to users and requiring them to dial a certain number. The goal is to obtain bank account information through the phone using a fake caller ID.

8. Malware

This method requires the malware to be run on the victim’s device. The malicious software is most frequently contained in an email sent to the user by the phiser.

9. SMS Phishing (Smishing)

It is a phishing attack carried out via SMS. A smashing text will attempt to lure the target into giving away personal information after accessing a link that leads to a malicious website.

10. Link Manipulation

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

11. Keyloggers

A keylogger is a form of malware that gathers inputs from the keyboard, which are then sent to the hackers. They use this information to crack passwords and obtain all kinds of personal data.

12. Trojans

This scam is widespread among phishing techniques, and it involves using a form of malware (trojan) designed to mislead the victim with an action that appears to be legitimate. However, what it actually does is allow unauthorized access to the user account to collect credentials.

13. Ransomware

Ransomware encrypts files on a device and denies the victim access to it unless a ransom is paid. The user downloads the malware after being tricked into clicking on a malicious link, opening an attachment, or clicking on malicious ads.

14. Malvertising

Last but not least of phishing techniques, malicious advertising uses active scripts created to download malware or forcefully push unwanted content on the victim’s device. The most common methods exploit Adobe PDF and Flash.

Now that you know what the most common 14 phishing techniques are, don’t waste another minute relying on luck and protect your employees and company from online threats with ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training program. We’ll provide your staff with the necessary knowledge to spot and prevent all of the phishing techniques presented above.

Get your quote here.


Web illustrations by Storyset

Internet illustrations by Storyset

Web illustrations by Storyset

Web illustrations by Storyset

Online 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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