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what does the term phishing refer to in the context of cybersecurity

An Overview of Phishing

Phishing is a deceitful practice in which an attacker poses as a legitimate company and distributes harmful links or files to get personal information from those targeted. Since it’s a common cybercrime, identifying and stopping it requires an understanding of it.

How does phishing operate and what kind of phishing is it?

Phishing is a social engineering and cybersecurity attack where an attacker obtains sensitive information from public databases creating convincing phishing emails that install malware or redirect users to a bogus website.

Cybercriminals are employing AI technologies such as chatbots and phone phishing to make emails and phone calls more convincing, posing as employees and using AI-generated voices.

How to Spot a Phishing Email

Phishing emails, which are frequently disguised as coming from a trustworthy firm, can be spotted by a variety of signals, including company logos and personal data.

Subdomains, misspelt URLs, and suspicious URLs are used in the message, and the addressee uses a public email account. It instils panic or urgency, asks for personal information verification, and is badly written with spelling and grammatical problems.

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Various types of phishing

1. Spear phishing assaults target specific persons or businesses, utilising information acquired to make the message look genuine. To fool the victim, they can refer to colleagues or executives, and use personal information or sensitive data.

2. Whaling attacks are spear-phishing attempts designed to collect sensitive data from senior leaders inside an organisation. Attackers research victims to develop real communications that use relevant information to boost their chances of succeeding. The phishing communication frequently seems like an executive’s directive to authorise a significant payment to a vendor, but the money is sent to the attackers.

3. Pharming is a sort of phishing attack that redirects people from a real website to a fake one by using domain name system cache poisoning. Pharming aims to deceive people into checking in to a bogus website with their personal information.

4. Clone phishing attacks employ authentic emails with links or attachments to deceive users into clicking on malicious links or opening files. These attacks are frequently employed by attackers who have gained control of another victim’s machine and use the ability to send messages from a trusted sender to the victims.

5. In an evil twin attack, hackers create a second hotspot with the same name and radio signal and fool users into connecting to it. This creates a serious security concern by giving hackers access to all communications, including passwords and user IDs, and by allowing them to target devices with phoney prompts.

6. SMS phishing is a type of attack that targets mobile devices and employs text messaging to trick victims into installing malware or disclosing account information. Because the URLs are truncated, victims are urged to click on websites, phone numbers, or send emails, which makes them more difficult to identify.

7. Attacks using page hijacking cause the victim to be redirected to a hacked website that is a copy of the page they were supposed to see. By inserting malware into the clone website, the attacker employs a cross-site scripting attack to send the victim to that page.

Techniques of Phishing

  • In spoofing URLs, attackers overlay an image of a valid URL on a browser’s address bar by using JavaScript. Hovering over the hyperlink reveals the URL, which may also be modified using JavaScript.
  • Manipulating links sometimes called “URL hiding,” is employed in many popular phishing schemes. A malicious URL is created by attackers and presented as if it links to a trustworthy website, but in reality, it directs users to a hostile online resource.
  • Attackers can conceal the link destination by using link-shortening services. Victims can’t determine if the abbreviated URL leads to a trustworthy or malicious website.

Tips to avoid falling for phishing

Experts advise combining firewalls, antispyware, antivirus software, and toolbars for web browsers that prevent phishing attempts with other security measures. Email authentication standards should be used by enterprise mail servers, and assistance may be found from sites.


Social media and modern innovations, paired with phishing schemes, make them extremely dangerous for victims. In 2019 and 2020, CEOs and businesses were scammed by phishing attempts using artificial intelligence (AI). As we see, whether it is CEOs of big companies or general users, no one is spared from these attacks. So we must be careful and be on guard from these phishing assaults.