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Phishing vs Spear Phishing: What’s the Difference?

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information like passwords and credit card details by posing as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Spear phishing, on the other hand, is a more targeted attack that uses customised emails crafted to fool specific individuals or organisations into revealing confidential data.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at phishing and spear phishing, and we’ll discuss the best ways to protect yourself from these scams. We’ll also cover what to do if you fall for a phishing attack.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your business from all types of phishing attacks, visit Phishwise.

What is phishing and how does it work?

Phishing is a technique used by cyber criminals to hand over sensitive information or install malware that can install viruses onto your work laptop/desktop. They do this by sending you fake emails that look like they’re from a reputable company or via an internal source so it looks like a trusted sender. The goal is to get hold of sensitive data like financial or personal information which will often be sold on the dark web.

The different types of phishing scams

There are many different types of phishing scams, but the most common ones are:

1. Phishing emails – These are fake emails that appear to be from a reputable company or even appear to be received within your company from fellow colleagues. The email will usually ask you to click on a link or provide your personal details, and if you fall for it, the scammer will be able to access your account and steal your money or personal information.

2. Spear phishing emails – These are targeted attacks that use customised emails crafted to fool specific individuals or organisations into revealing confidential data.

3. Phishing websites – These are fake websites that look like the real thing, but are actually used to steal your personal information.

4. Phone phishing – This is a scam where the scammer calls you and tries to get you to reveal your personal information.

5. SMS phishing – This is a scam where the scammer sends you a text message asking for your personal information.

How to protect yourself from phishing scams

Phishing scams are a very common type of scam, and they can be very sophisticated. However, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from them.

1. Never click on links in emails – phishing emails will often include links that lead to fake websites. If you click on the link, you may end up giving your personal information to the scammer.

2. Be suspicious of emails that ask for personal information – genuine companies will never ask for your personal information via email. If you receive an email from a company asking for this type of information, it’s likely to be a scam.

3. Check the website address – phishing websites will often have addresses that are very similar to the genuine website, but there will be small differences. For example, the address might end in .com instead of Be sure to check the address before entering any personal information.

The dangers of spear phishing

Spear phishing is a more targeted form of phishing that uses a more personal approach with their emails to fool specific individuals or organisations into revealing confidential data. Unlike regular phishing scams, which send out mass emails in the hopes of fooling someone, spear-phishing attacks are carefully crafted to target a specific individual or organisation.

The goal of a spear phishing attack is to get the victim to reveal confidential information, such as passwords, bank account details, or social security numbers. Spear phishing emails are designed to target a single recipient, such as one person within an organisation. Information is primarily discovered using social media or other public information, and a fraudulent email is tailored to that person. The scammers will often use personal information that they’ve gathered about the target to make the email seem more genuine and the email may appear as if it has come from a coworker or a friend.

It is important to be aware of phishing scams and spear phishing attacks that are designed to steal your personal information. Phishing emails will often have links or attachments with viruses, while a spear-phishing attack usually has more personalized content to fool the victim into revealing their sensitive data such as passwords, bank account details, or social security numbers.

Phishwise offers an interactive course for your business to ensure all your staff are equipped with the skills and knowledge to protect themselves from all types of attacks. For more information, vising Phishwise, or contact us directly here.