What are the Types of Phishing Attacks to be Avoided by a Company? - Coweso
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What are the Types of Phishing Attacks to be Avoided by a Company?

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What are the Types of Phishing Attacks to be Avoided by a Company?

One of the dangers that companies need to be wary of is a phishing attack. These attacks have been carried out since the internet was at its infancy stage. The first phishing attack propagated by cybercriminals was in the decade of 1990s. They stole passwords and credit card details using the America Online service. While the current crop of hackers utilises similar social engineering methods, cyber terrorists use more advanced tactics. When we strip it to its fundamentals, phishing is an attack tactic that employs social engineering tactics to make individuals take action against their best interests. With a better understanding of the types of phishing attacks and identifying them with the help of IT services near me, organisations can more effectively protect their users and their data. Therefore, we have provided a list of seven such types of attacks that an organisation should avoid.

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Phishing through Mail

This type of attack is also called deception phishing and is considered one of the most well-recognised ways of fraud. Malevolent fraudsters impersonate a known product or brand executive and send emails to customers. This method uses social engineering strategies to create a high sense of panic and emergency and lure individuals into clicking on a URL or downloading something fishy. These URLs traditionally go to malicious websites that steal user passwords or upload suspicious codes on a customer’s gadget, known as malware. The downloads typically are in the form of PDF files and have nasty bits stored in them. Once the customer opens the file, the malware starts installing on that particular device.

Determining email phishing is not that challenging & most people recognise some of the primary indicators of such correspondence. However, if you have no idea what to look for, the following traditional points may help you limit the risk.

  • Once you get such a notification, check for contact information or other legitimate details about the organisation being impersonated. After that, look to identify things like misspellings or a sender email address with the incorrect website.
  • Always be wary and aware of suspicious and benign code. These codes come in the form of downloads or URLs with probable misspellings and try to cheat Exchange Online Protection (EOP).
  • Keep an eye on shortened links and ensure not clicking on any of those since these are utilised to deceive Secure Email Gateways. Search IT companies near me if you are getting repeated such links.
  • Always look out for fake credentials and brand information. Verify the message for any symbols that look real because they may contain fake, malicious HTML attributes.
  • The emails with images may contain suspicious codes. Therefore, ignore emails with only a picture and very little content.

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HTTPS phishing

Many experts consider the hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS)as a “safe” link to click because it uses encryption to increase security. Due to its enduring feature of establishing legitimacy, most legal organisations now use HTTPS instead of HTTP. However, cybercriminals are now exposing the link’s loopholes and HTTPS in the URLs they put into phishing emails.

While the fraud is generally part of an email phishing attack, it is a slightly nuanced approach. Therefore, identifying it is somewhat tricky. When deciding if a link is legitimate or not, consider a couple of factors. The first part is to avoid any shortened links. Ensure that the link is in its original, long-tail format and shows all URL aspects. The second factor is locating & verifying the hypertext, as these are “clickable” links embedded into the text to hide the actual URL. You can contact Coweso – the leading company providing IT consulting in Sydney – for further advice.

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Spear Attack

Although spear-phishing uses email, it takes a more targeted approach. Cybercriminals start by using open-source intelligence (OSINT) to gather information from published or publicly available sources like social media or a company’s website. Then, they target specific individuals within the organisation using actual credentials, job designations or work contact numbers to make the recipient assume the correspondence is from someone else inside the firm. Ultimately, the person takes action cited in the email because they believe this is an internal request. You can verify the existence of spear-phishing by checking the following points:

  • Check whether the request made is something out of the ordinary or not. Look out for internal demands that arrive from people in other departments or seem peculiar considering your designation in the company.
  • If you get a link to a file stored on shared drives like Google Suite, O365, and Dropbox, you must avoid and be wary of them. These URLs can take you to a fake, harmful webpage.
  • If you have received a file that requires your user credentials like login ID and password to open, double-check its source as hackers could attempt to steal your details.

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Whaling/CEO Hacking

Another type of corporate phishing that leverages open-source intelligence is called whaling/CEO fraud or phishing. Malicious impersonators find the name of the organisation’s CEO or another senior leadership member by using social media or the corporate webpage. They then mimic that individual with the help of an identical email address. The correspondence might ask for a money transfer or request that the recipient reviews a document. You can identify fraud related to whaling or CEO by checking a couple of things in coordination with managed IT service providers in Sydney like Coweso.


The first factor is to look out for any suspicious or abnormal request from senior management personnel who have never contacted you. If you receive such a notification, try to confirm with the said personnel before clicking on the information. Secondly, ensure that any proposal that seems genuine should be sent to the work mail and not on the personal one.

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This phenomenon is short for voice phishing. Such an incident happens when a cybercriminal calls a phone number and creates a heightened sense of urgency that makes a person take action against their best interests. These calls are standard during times or programs full of stress. For example, many individuals have reported receiving bogus phone calls from persons pretending to be the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officers during tax season. Such fraudsters indicate that they want to audit your firm and require a social security number. Such a call can trick a person into providing sensitive and personal details because the call forces you to experience a sense of emergency and immediacy. You can check the occurrence of vishing by contacting various IT service providers in Sydney and the following hints to prevent yourself from getting cheated:


  • Check out the caller number and avoid taking any action if the number might be from an unusual location or blocked.
  • Such calls usually come during a time, season or event that causes stress, and users become vulnerable. Therefore, try to shield yourself.
  • If you have received a call that requests personal information that seems unusual for the caller, entirely avoid and report it.

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