What Is A Phishing Attack, And How To Prevent It?

what is a phishing attack and how to prevent it

A phishing attack involves social engineering where the attackers dupe people to steal confidential data. The hostiles mainly aim for credit card details and login credentials.

In this type of cyber-attack, the enemies pretend to be a trusted body. They mislead victims to open an email or text message that carries malware.

As soon as the recipient clicks the malicious link, the installation of malware starts. It may cause a system block due to a ransomware attack and the breach of sensitive information.

Data, whether personal or organizational, is always valuable. Hackers can use it to access an organization’s network or commit fraud. In addition, sometimes phishing scams target organizational data to support the spying actions of opposition companies.

A cyber-attack can result in disaster for both individuals and organizations. Personal attack aims to steal funds, unauthorized purchases, or identity theft.

An organization encountering a phishing attack generally experiences severe financial losses. In addition, there may be a decline in market share, reputation, and consumer trust.

A phishing attempt may extend to a security issue. It can cause too complex a situation for a business to survive. Organizations can opt for help desk services to combat such incidents. Many IT help desk outsourcing companies offer security services that help identify threats and prevent them on time.

Moreover, phishing often comes as a preface to a larger attack in corporate or governmental networks. In the latter scenario, the intruders get unauthorized access to the network and remain undetected for a longer period. They may distribute malware through the entire system or acquire access to secured data. This article describes everything about phishing attacks and how to prevent them.

Different Kinds of Phishing Attacks

Phishing scams are of specific types depending on the profile of the target.

1. Spear Fishing

These are not like general phishing emails. In spear phishing, attackers collect information about their targets and prepare the emails with reliable context. In some cases, hackers collect business email communications and send customized messages.

2. Clone Phishing

Sometimes attackers manage to get an original previous email message and make a duplicate copy of them. Then they change an attachment or link in the mail to some malicious items.

3. Whaling

Whaling phishing particularly targets high-profile senior executives in an organization. The content of a whaling scam contains a legal or other high-level business matter.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?

Phishing scams are the most common methods of cybercrime that we come across. Cybercriminals earn huge by fooling people. However, now we have become more familiar with the nature of these fraudulent activities. So you can avoid phishing by following cyber security practices. You can read How To Stop Phishing Attacks to know more about it.

Employees must undergo training on phishing scams. It will help them identify the trap and prevent the possible threat. Moreover, cyber attackers always upgrade their techniques. So you also need to follow the rule of continuous improvement to beat every phishing trap. You can consider the below tips to prevent phishing attacks.

1. Learn the Nature of Phishing Attacks

Hackers develop new methods of attack every day. But their weak point is that they include a common stage in all their tricks. And this common nature can help us identify a phishing scam.

So it is not very difficult to sense a phishing scam if we know the area of suspicion. You can take help from the sites that tell about new phishing attacks and their identifying factors. If you keep yourself informed early, you can enhance the security awareness of your users on time. It will help you prevent a potential attack.

2. Don’t Click on Unfamiliar Links

It is wise not to click on any link in an email or message, even if you receive it from a known sender. The sender might have forwarded the message to you without knowing about it. You can try to detect the destination by exploring it on the search engine.

However, in a sophisticated phishing scam, the URL may look like that of a genuine site. Hackers design these links to take you to a destination where they steal login or credit card details.

3. Install Free Anti-Phishing Add-ons

Cyber security has become a crucial concern in every online activity. So most browsers come with advanced security benefits. They offer free add-ons that send an alert whenever you attempt to open a malicious website. You can install these security enhancers on all devices to prevent phishing attacks.

4. Opt for a Data Security Platform to Detect Indications of an Attack

If you become a victim of a phishing scam, you may face financial or other kinds of loss. So, it is crucial to detect and prevent such attacks on time.

A data security platform sends an automatic alert whenever there is a suspicious user or unusual changes in data. This platform can identify unauthorized access to the network and warn you before any damage occurs.

5. Update Passwords Regularly

For every online account, it is crucial to change the password at regular intervals. This simple initiative can lock out possible hackers.

6. Don’t Overlook the Available Updates

We often ignore the system or software update messages. However, these updates can keep your network and devices safe against new cyber threats. A help desk outsourcing might be the best option in this matter. They can perform regular updating activities without failure.

7. Install Firewalls

Firewalls act as a shield between your devices and a hacker. If you use desktop and network firewalls together, it will strengthen your security system.


Phishing involves the use of electronic communications in a fraudulent way. It misleads people and takes advantage of them. Phishing attackers aim to acquire sensitive and confidential data such as passwords, credit card details, network information, etc.

Hackers communicate as an authentic individual or organization via phone or email. They use social engineering to exploit victims to perform some actions. They may ask users to like or click on a hostile link or attachment. Sometimes victims also willfully share confidential information.
If you keep yourself informed about new phishing methods and their identifiers, you can read What Is Phishing?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Phishing Attack?

In a phishing attack, the attackers pretend to be authentic individuals and dupe people to steal confidential data. Phishing attacks result in disaster for both individuals and organizations.

Personal hacking aims to steal funds, unauthorized purchases, or identity theft. An organization encountering a phishing attack generally experiences severe financial losses.

What are the Common Signs of a Phishing Email?

  • Unexpected offers
  • Unusual sender
  • Poor spelling and grammar
  • Threats of account shutdown, etc., and showing a sense of urgency
  • Links, with unknown destination URL
  • Unexpected attachments, especially .exe files

What is Two Factor Authentication?

Two Factor Authentication comprises two techniques of identity verification. It includes one part you know (i.e., password) and another part you have (i.e., smartphone).

What is the Goal of a Phishing Attack?

Cybercriminals earn huge by accessing credit card details and login credentials. In this type of cyber-attack, the enemies pretend to be a trusted body. They mislead victims into sharing financial detail.

How to Prevent Phishing?

Some common security procedures to prevent phishing are:

  • Learning the nature of phishing attacks
  • Avoiding unfamiliar links
  • Installing free anti-phishing add-ons
  • Opting for a data security platform
  • Updating passwords regularly

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