What is Phishing

Phishing 101 – What is Phishing & How You Can Avoid It

10 Mins Read

PUREVPNCybersecurityPhishing 101 – What is Phishing & How You Can Avoid It

What is phishing?

Phishing is an online scam when criminals send fake emails or create websites that look like famous brands to obtain confidential information such as passwords, credit card numbers, etc. One author says it is a standard attack used today. 

Abusive fraud usually has a financial motive, but it can also have a nefarious motive or even identity theft. Social engineering techniques and the creation of self-respecting companies are two ways phishers trick people into revealing personal information without victims often realizing they’re being tricked until it’s too late. It’s essential to know the warning signs to avoid becoming a victim.

What is Phishing

Examples of phishing attacks

Phishing attacks can be carried out in various ways and with malicious intent. Specific types include website cloning, SMS phishing (sometimes called smishing), email phishing, and website cloning. Hackers use email phishing to steal identifying information. 

Email phishing

Criminals send emails that appear to come from legitimate sources but contain clickable links or attachments to download malware to the recipient’s device or send the recipient to a fake website requesting their download. The content does not go These emails may also be misspelled or have other grammatical errors; It should be a warning that those are not from the sender.

SMS phishing 

Often referred to as smishing, SMS phishing uses text messages as a method similar to email phishing. When victims clicked on negative links in their messages from The Smithers, they were redirected to websites where they had to provide personal information. While these websites may be legitimate, they solely aim to steal sensitive information from unsuspecting customers. 

Website cloning 

Another phishing attack is when hackers learn entirely the structure and content of an existing website. This is called website cloning. A customized website often contains malicious code or links to other rogue websites that can steal user credentials and additional sensitive information upon visit. Before entering personal information, make sure you are visiting a legitimate website and not a malicious one by double-checking the URL.

By recognizing these common phishing attacks and taking proactive steps such as using two-factor authentication whenever available, installing antivirus software on your device, and avoiding clicking suspicious links sent via email or text message, you can protect yourself against this dangerous cyberattack.

What is phishing-resistant mfa

The security measure known as phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication (MFA) is to protect user accounts and sensitive information from phishing attacks to capture the user’s identity and verify the identity of the person seeking to access an understanding of the said to be there passwords, or biometric identification. 


They use multiple features, such as two-factor authentication (2FA). Single-factor passwords are a traditional authentication trick that allows hackers to steal or guess. MFA makes it more difficult for attackers to obtain sensitive data by combining multiple steps for authentication. 

For example, suppose you have a connection between something you know (a password), something you own (a physical token or mobile device), and something you own (biometrics like your fingerprint). In that case, it’s harder for bad actors to have your data ).

Why use multi-factor authentication?

Several works provide additional benefits in the use of MFA in addition to improved security. These benefits include faster login times because users no longer need to remember multiple usernames and passwords for various services and the ability to add additional protection, some of which biometric identification MFA can help companies meet compliance requirements set by international regulators. 

Overall, phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication is a surefire way to thwart phishing attempts and protect customers from bad actors who steal data or personal information. By atomizing this technology, companies can guarantee the safety of their customers and still get the services they need quickly and securely. 

What is smishing?

Smishing is a phishing attack using text messages instead of email. Often the goal is to get the victim to click on suspicious links or to reveal confidential information such as credit card or private information. These texts often require immediate action and come from reputable institutions. They may also be full of grammatical and spelling mistakes, indicating the document is a forgery.

When victims click on a link in the message, they are taken to a website with personal information. Unfortunately, these websites are often created to get sensitive data from unwary users. 

How to prevent smishing attacks?

Smishing attacks can be prevented by being alert to possible scams and never clicking on any links provided in suspicious text messages. 

Strong passwords and two-factor authentication should always be used to increase security. Installing antivirus software on all devices should also help protect against these attacks.

Spear Phishing vs. Phishing

Cybercriminals increasingly turn to spear manipulation and phishing to trick unwary victims into revealing personal information. Despite the similarities between the two methods, it’s essential to understand a few key differences to protect yourself from these harmful online attacks.

Links that take users to dangerous websites masquerading as trustworthy websites to trick people into revealing sensitive information spear phishing is a type of phishing specifically targeted at an individual or group of people. 

Attackers use publicly available information about their targets, such as social media profiles and websites, to create identity communications from trusted sources to persuade victims to reveal their sensitive data. 

Cybercriminals may pretend to know or have acted beforehand to make the network appear more trustworthy. Because of this, spear phishing attacks are more brutal to detect and defend against than regular phishing attacks for people and companies.

People and businesses can protect themselves against such attacks by detecting fraud and blocking suspicious emails or text messages. 

Whether they make a purchase or provide sensitive information, anyone doing business online should use a strong password and two-factor authentication whenever possible. Antivirus software helps protect you from such attacks. It can happen and can help prevent hacking.

Types of Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks come in many forms and constantly evolve to stay one step ahead of security measures. At the same time, traditional phishing attacks involve sending generic emails or texts as part of a mass campaign; spear phishing explicitly targets an individual or organization. Some more common types of phishing attacks include:

CEO Fraud or Business Email Compromise (BEC)

In this attack, the thief assumes the executive’s identity to obtain sensitive information or data. Additionally, an attacker could ask employees to send money in what appears to be a legitimate transaction, causing significant financial losses to the business.


The technique simulates phishing if you use a voice message instead of a text or email message. Caller ID spoofing is commonly used in phishing attacks to call victims and demand confidential data such as passwords and card numbers. The caller may pretend to be from an established entity such as a bank, telephone company, or other organization.


As mentioned, phishing attacks known as “smishing” use SMS messages instead of email. These communications often contain urgent action requests and may have a typo or bad grammar, which should be a red flag that the message is incorrect. 

Taking precautions and never clicking on suspicious links received via email or text message are the best ways to protect yourself and your company from cyberattacks. Also, use two-factor authentication and secure passwords.

What is a standard indicator of a phishing attempt?

Typos and bad grammar in emails or text messages are common signs of a phishing attempt. Urgent action requests, suspicious links or attachments, and messages that appear to be from an unknown sender are some other red flags. 

Cybercriminals often use readily available information about the victims to make the message more credible, so if it includes identifiable information such as your name or place of work, which should be done suspiciously in addition to any email that asks you to open a link or send sensitive information Be careful because doing so can lead to identity theft and loss of money.

How can organizations identify phishing attacks? 

Companies can detect phishing attacks by carefully monitoring incoming and outgoing emails, text messages, and other forms of communication. Any questionable links or appendices and writing with spelling and grammatical errors should be scrutinized. 

Organizations should also educate their employees on phishing techniques and warning signs so they can be detected immediately. Avoid suspicious emails or texts, and advise employees not to click on unknown links or provide sensitive information. 

Further, companies can access anti-phishing email security systems and other software tools, which prevent harmful content before the incoming email reaches the inbox. This is a powerful strategy due to preventing potential risks from being filtered out before they happen.

Who is a target for phishing attacks?

Phishing attacks can target anyone, but businesses and organizations are particularly at risk. Hackers often target these businesses because they have sensitive transaction and customer information to use to their advantage, along with attackers who usually try to target CEOs to obtain data or on sophisticated systems. 

Phishing attempts can also target specific users when criminals try to access their private data, such as passwords or banking information. Everyone should recognize the signs of a phishing attempt and make it carefully to protect their data.

What’s the cost of phishing attacks? 

Phishing costs can vary greatly depending on the type and scope of the attack. But typical prices of phishing include wasted time from system crashes, loss of company reputation, customer data theft, and lost revenue from fraudulent transactions. 

Phishing attacks become very expensive in terms of resources needed to prevent and recover them. Preventing such breaches may require organizations to spend more on security measures such as better employee education programs or more robust authentication mechanisms.

The cost of this position can add up quickly, and it can be tricky to justify a project already running on a tight budget. Organizations can also face regulatory fees or penalties if they do not follow strict guidelines for protecting customer data. Overall, phishing attacks can be costly financially and reputationally for any targeted company or organization.

What type of social engineering targets senior officials?

The social engineering strategy of “spear-phishing,” which directly targets senior executives, is used in phishing attacks. This attack aims to exploit their access to personal data or resources within the company. 

Cybercriminals can assume trusted sources are legitimate and make special requests or use persuasive tactics such as strong language. 

Examples include passwords, financial information, and other sensitive information. Attackers can also try infiltrating internal networks by sending phishing emails with malicious links or attachments.

Officers and employees must be vigilant about phishing attempts, especially those targeted exclusively. 

Establishing a two-factor authentication system for online access to the internet, implementing strict security measures against data breaches, emphasizing the benefits of sharing, and employee training on how to recognize backup efforts and remain secure in the face of threats. Businesses must take only a few measures to protect against these attacks.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks

If people have to be protected and organizations want to protect themselves from these dangerous attacks, phishing attacks must be handled in various ways. 

  • The first thing businesses should do is invest in a robust security system, which should include firewalls, secure server configurations, data encryption, malware detection systems, and dual processing 
  • To ensure everyone is aware of the warning signs of phishing attempts and know how to respond to suspicious emails or texts appropriately, organizations should also review and develop their employee and other user policies educational programs to identify professional phishing scams and prevent them from falling victim to them. 
  • Companies can also consider using automated monitoring solutions to detect strange network behavior. 
  • Consumers should be aware of the warning signs of phishing attempts, such as misspelled emails in a foreign language or URLs that direct recipients to strange websites. 
  • Users Online, beforehand any link or attachment has been clicked. That’s in email or text.
  • Use industry-standard security measures such as two-factor authentication when accessing accounts, and avoid accessing public WiFi networks unless necessary. People need to update their passwords regularly and choose passwords.
  • They are difficult for attackers to guess. These actions can significantly reduce the chances of an individual or company falling victim to a successful phishing attack.

How to Prevent Phishing in Business

Companies of all sizes should try to protect themselves from potentially damaging erasure efforts. The first step in preventing predation attempts is to inform customers and employees about the dangers of online fraud. 

Evaluate red flags 

Users should be aware of the warning signs of phishing attacks by organizations, including requests for personal information and links to shady websites. Companies should also establish standards that show how employees respond to infamous emails and communications.

Enhance security 

In addition, companies should invest in robust security measures such as firewalls, secure server systems, data encryption, malware detection systems, two-factor authentication systems, etc. This technology can help with data protection and website management for suspicious businesses. 

Download monitoring systems 

Companies should consider installing proactive monitoring systems to detect abnormal network behavior. Ultimately, organizations need to stay current with cybersecurity advancements to anticipate better and see new attack techniques attackers use. 

By taking proactive steps to thwart capture attempts, companies can significantly reduce their chances of being a victim of this malicious scheme.

How to Prevent Phishing and Pharming

Malicious actors use farming and phishing as attack strategies to obtain confidential information or financial resources. Individuals and organizations must adopt proactive measures to protect against these threats. 

Run awareness emails and campaigns 

People need to be aware of specific indicators of attack attempts to prevent phishing. This includes emails or messages that do not use poor grammar or spelling, ask for personal information, or contain links to unknown websites. It’s essential to be careful before clicking on any suspicious link or attachment shared in email communication.

Avoid using unprotected WiFi networks

Users should also avoid using public WiFi networks unless necessary and use appropriate security measures such as two-factor access when accessing accounts online. 

Invest in firewalls and antivirus

Organizations should spend on robust security measures such as firewalls, secure server configurations, data encryption, and malware detection systems to protect against phishing attempts. 

Monitor systems frequently 

Companies should also consider equipping an active monitoring system capable of identifying any unusual behavior on their network. It is difficult for users to detect farming attacks when users are redirected from trusted websites to malicious websites without their knowledge or cooperation. 

Look for system vulnerabilities 

Companies should ensure that their websites are secure and regularly checked for cross-site scripting (XSS) and other vulnerabilities that must be protected against such attacks. 

Update websites and systems

Organizations should update their web browsers with the latest maintenance and security updates to protect against these harmful attacks. 

Train employees 

Last but not least, companies can train their employees in specific exploitation techniques to help them spot potential threats and such attacks early. You can minimize the loss of the cause.

Individuals and organizations can significantly reduce their chances of becoming victims of successful phishing or pharming attempts by taking a multi-faceted approach to prevent these cyberattacks.

List of phishing scams 

  1. Business Email Compromise (BEC)
  2. Banking and Financial Institution Phishing Scams
  3. Fake Charities and Nonprofit Organizations.
  4. Tax-Related Fraud
  5. Account Verification Requests
  6. Unclaimed Money SchemesTech Support Frauds
  7. Social Media Impersonation Scams
  8. Investment Opportunities
  9. Online Shopping Order Confirmation Requests

Wrapping up

Phishing is now a severe internet crime that is on the rise. Phishing email websites are used by attackers posing as companies or legitimate individuals to provide confidential data, financial information, and other sensitive information.

To prevent such attacks, businesses must ensure their websites are secure, regularly updated, and checked for cross-site scripting (XSS) and other bugs. 

To protect against these attacks, organizations should make sure their websites are secure, regularly test them for vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting (XSS), and keep web browsers up-to-date with the latest patches and security updates. 

Individuals should also know common phishing tactics like fake charities and nonprofits, tax-related frauds, account verification requests, unclaimed money schemes, tech support frauds, social media impersonation scams, investment opportunities, and online shopping order confirmation requests. 

Business owners and consumers can significantly reduce the risk of becoming victims of successful phishing or pharming attempts by taking a multi-faceted approach to prevent these cyberattacks.


What is phishing cybercrime?

Phishing is a type of cybercrime in which criminals use email and text websites posing as respected business employees to obtain personal data such as passwords, banking details, other private information, etc. 
Cybercriminals use websites filled with malware to gain access to users’ financial, unique items. The primary goal of these potential “spoof” attacks is usually to help attackers gain control of accounts and systems to hack users who are high or will steal money.

Why is it called phishing?

The term “phishing” comes from the analogy of using bait to catch a fish. In this case, attackers use malicious emails, links, and messages to bait victims into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links, which attackers can use for their gain. The technique is often called fishing because, like in real-life phishing, some attempts are successful while others are not. Additionally, like an actual fisherman, the attacker only knows if they will find something valuable once they complete the phishing attempt.

Is phishing a hacker?

Hacking is not phishing, though. To gain privacy, attackers use social engineering techniques, such as sending emails from trusted sources or sending malicious-looking links; in these types of cybercrimes, the primary objective of these attacks is to deny the attacker access to accounts and systems.




June 20, 2023


1 year ago

PureVPN is a leading VPN service provider that excels in providing easy solutions for online privacy and security. With 6000+ servers in 65+ countries, It helps consumers and businesses in keeping their online identity secured.

Have Your Say!!

Join 3 million+ users to embrace internet freedom

Signup for PureVPN to get complete online security and privacy with a hidden IP address and encrypted internet traffic.