What is a phishing attack in cyber security?

A type of scam in which an attacker sends out emails that appear to be from a legitimate organization, such as your bank or tax office, is known as Phishing. The emails pretend to be from a trustworthy source and try to get victims to click on links or attachments in the email that will infect their computers with malware.

What Is Phishing?

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is one of the common ways hackers get into systems because it’s so easy. Phishing is when someone sends you a message that looks like it’s from a trusted source but is trying to get your information.

A hacker might send an email asking you to click on something or visit their website, which may contain malware (malicious software) that can infect your system and allow them access to your device and network. The best protection against phishing attacks is awareness: learning what they are, how they work, and how to recognize them when you see them in action.

If you get an email that looks like it’s from a trusted source but isn’t, delete it. Don’t try to open attachments or click on any links in the message. If your account is compromised, change your password immediately and contact campus IT services.

You may also consider getting a security software program to protect your system from malware. For example, Microsoft offers an antivirus program called Windows Defender Security Center, which is part of the Windows 10 operating system and is available for free download.

The only way to protect against phishing attacks is awareness: learning how they work and how to recognize them when you see them in action. If your account is compromised, change your password immediately and contact campus IT services.

5 Types of Phishing Attacks

5 Types of Phishing Attacks

1. Spear Phishing

This type of attack targets a specific individual or group. In this instance, the attacker creates fake emails that appear to be from an executive or someone else in your organization and sends them out to employees who know the person well.

2. Whaling

This phishing attack is used to steal large companies’ money by targeting executives or CEOs. Here, attackers create fake emails that look like they are coming from one of these individuals, asking for confidential information such as passwords and account numbers.

3. Vishing

Also known as phone fraud or voice phishing, this type of attack involves someone calling you on the telephone pretending to represent your bank or another trusted institution with which you have an account and asking for personal information through voice commands over the phone line (or via text messaging).

4. Pharming

A form of computer hacking where hackers infect computers with viruses that redirect users’ web browsers to fake websites designed by cyber criminals so that users can unknowingly submit their private information—like usernames and passwords—to these sites instead of legitimate ones like Amazon, etc., putting themselves at risk for identity theft.

5. Smishing (SMS-based Phishing)

Similar to spear phishers who send emails posing as company officials asking users for sensitive data to gain access to their systems, smashers use text messages from spoofed numbers to get login credentials needed before launching any attack on computer networks using malware installed onto smartphones via social engineering tactics such as getting users to click on links within suspicious texts sent via SMS message service providers like WhatsApp.

What are the Signs of Phishing?

What are the Signs of Phishing?

  • The email you receive is from a known sender.
  • The message asks you to click on a link or attachment.
  • It asks for personal information and login credentials (username and password).
  • It asks you to verify your account information by clicking on a link or attachment that takes you to another site where they can capture your information. Or they may ask you to change your password because they say they were having technical difficulties with the site’s database and now need confirmation of your identity before proceeding with further action.
  • They claim there was some error with their system, at which point they have already captured your data and now want further verification before restoring access once again; however, this carries risk as well because, once again, this could be just another phishing campaign trying to get even more sensitive information about their target – so DO NOT FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS!

5 Methods to Protect Your Organization from Phishing Attacks

5 Methods to Protect Your Organization from Phishing Attacks

1. Use a spam filter to reduce the number of phishing emails that make it into your inbox.

2. Use a secure email service to keep communications with customers and partners out of the reach of hackers.

3. Be wary of attachments in messages, even if they come from people you know and trust because they could contain malicious software designed to take over your system.

4. Don’t click on links attached to emails unless you are sure where they lead—even then, it’s best not to open them on an unfamiliar device or network connection (like public WiFi). If a link appears legitimate, but you are unsure about its content or source, type the URL directly into your browser rather than clicking on it.

5. Never reply or share any personal information when responding to phishing emails; send an email back with “do not reply” at the beginning of the message line instead (or ignore it).


Phishing is a common form of cyber attack that can be very dangerous. It targets people who use the internet and social media, tricking them into divulging personal information or taking actions they wouldn’t normally take. This type of malware has been around since the 1990s, but it continues to evolve as attackers find new ways to exploit internet users’ trust in others online.

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