Phishing Attacks 2024: Definition and Types of Attacks Explained!

Phishing is a sophisticated and often effective type of cybercrime used to trick victims into revealing private information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers.

Understanding the various types of attacks and applying best practices is crucial to developing an effective anti-phishing strategy, although they can take many different forms, from CEO fraud to email phishing scams.

Employees in particular need to have a solid understanding of avoiding phishing attacks, as the effects of a successful malicious attack can spread throughout the organization.

Phishing Attacks Are Increasing

The goal of a phishing attack is to trick the target into providing sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers or login passwords.

Scammers persuade victims to take the necessary action by sending them. text messages, phone calls, emails or visits to fake websites.

Additionally, they are always finding new ways to capitalize on the public’s need for reliable information.

According to a recent Google report, phishing websites increased by 350% in recent days. According to the research, most of these websites fit the coronavirus (COVID-19) narrative as a ruse.

With global pandemic fears at their peak, phishing attackers have used COVID-19-related keywords to target these critical targets:

  • Inviting people to donate to fake charities
  • stealing credentials 
  • Distributing malware

This article examines the many techniques attackers use for online phishing attempts and offers recommendations on how to prevent them through user education, the use of automated tools such as DNS traffic filtering or proxies, and the adoption of reasonable event management procedures.

It also goes at length about web proxies and how to use them as a defense against phishing.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a sophisticated scam often used by hackers. Obtaining sensitive data from unwitting victims such as usernames, passwords and credit card information.

Attackers pose as trusted entities to trick people into sharing their sensitive data. They often resemble well-known companies in appearance.

When successful, these nefarious parties gain access to your private accounts and personal information, which they can then sell to third parties for money or use to blackmail you. 

6 Major Types of Phishing 2024

It is very important to know about the many phishing attempts that are out there. This way we can defend ourselves if necessary.

1. Email Phishing

Phishing is most commonly done via email, with criminals sending fake emails that appear to come from trusted sources (such as banks, online retailers, or government agencies) in order to trick recipients into clicking harmful links or opening malware-ridden files.

2. Spear Phishing

Spear phishing attacks target specific individuals or organizations in order to trick them into revealing private information.

Attackers use special communications and enticements that appear authentic to trick victims into revealing their passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

When you open the message or download the attached files, the attacker may also install malware on your machine.

3. Vishing and Smishing

Attacks such as smashing and vishing aim to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing vital information.

Vishing attacks use voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology, such as phone calls or text-to-speech programs, to impersonate a trusted source to trick victims into revealing personal information. 

In smashing attacks, the attacker sends SMS messages via mobile devices to the target recipient containing malicious links that encourage them to click and provide personal information that can be used for fraud or identity theft.

4. CEO Fraud

CEO fraud, commonly referred to as “business email compromise” (BEC), is a type of phishing attack in which a perpetrator poses as a high-level official, such as a CEO or CFO.

The goal is to trick victims into making a wire transfer, providing money, or giving the fraudster access to their personal information.

They often use publicly available information about the organization’s personnel and activities to give their attacks a more credible appearance.

5. Angler Phishing

In a phishing attack, an attacker sends emails containing malicious links, malware downloads, or fake websites that appear to be genuine.

The goal is to trick the victim into revealing private information, including passwords and financial information.

6. Watering Hole Tactics

A more sophisticated variant of fisherman phishing is watering hole phishing. In a dangerous attack known as “watering,” hackers compromise trusted websites so that when consumers visit them, their machines are infected with malware.

Cybercriminals choose well-known websites that they know users frequently visit and insert malicious codes or links to download applications.

Allowing hackers to unintentionally gain access to victims’ information when they visit these sites can lead to infections such as ransomware hijacking networks or phishing schemes that compromise sensitive information.

Now that the context is clear, let’s look at how to defend against phishing attack strategies.

Working with Proxy Server Types to Prevent Phishing

Proxies are crucial for internet privacy and security. It gives businesses more control over their operations, lets you access restricted things, and hides your IP address.

Additionally, they help small and medium-sized businesses quickly scrape data while protecting servers from dangers such as DDoS attacks or criminal browsers accessing confidential information in HTML sections.

Proxy networks easily extend the reach of larger organizations with large numbers of workstations around the world without increasing infrastructure expenses and reducing performance outcomes. 

In conclusion, proxies are important if you are serious about protecting sensitive information! Of course, deciding which form of proxy to use can be difficult.

Although they are slower than other options, residential proxies are assigned by an internet service provider, making them harder to detect and block than other options.

Residential proxies can help mask a user’s identity and location by routing their traffic through an ISP’s network, making them harder to detect and block. All in all, it is an effective automatic anti-phishing mechanism.

Residential proxies are less likely to be blocked or blacklisted than data center or ISP-hosted alternatives because they typically have IP addresses from actual home connections.

Residential proxies may be slower than other options, but the anonymity they offer is helpful when trying to reduce online phishing attacks.

Faster connections are provided through data center proxies, but they can be more easily identified and route traffic through data centers rather than homes.

They are more susceptible to interception than residential solutions because they pass through data centers, making them simpler to detect.

Still, they can offer faster speeds because the service is provided from a server rather than home-based networks.

In cases where high connection speeds are required but the risk of blocking is less significant, data center solutions may be suitable.

They can still be useful as automatic protection against phishing attacks, as long as you take high detection levels into account when choosing your proxy solution.

ISP proxies offer a compromise between homes and data centers, providing faster speeds than the latter while maintaining a higher level of anonymity than the former.

Users can increase their site visit connection speeds with an ISP proxy without risking their privacy.

When choosing your ideal option, it’s crucial to consider which features are most important, as, as with other proxy types, connections can vary from ISP to ISP depending on region.

Ultimately, this can help determine whether it makes sense to use an ISP proxy to protect against phishing attempts.

However, any threats that breach any data center, residential, or ISP-based proxy service offer an extra layer of security to the customer.

When choosing a proxy solution for the best phishing attack defense, you should consider which aspects are most important. There are both technical and commercial factors when making a decision.

Considering the technological aspects, some of the most important factors in choosing a proxy server are:

  • The delay in sending or receiving network communications is known as latency. 
  • The volume of data that can be moved between computers in a given period of time is known as throughput. 
  • Authentication features: Who is authorized to access your systems and how do they do it?
  • Encryption requirements: What type of encryption will be required (e.g. IPsec, SSL) and what level of data security is desired?
  • LAN and WAN architecture: The types of networks (wired/wireless) you use to ensure your proxy server can connect to all of them.

On the business and commercial side, you should consider elements such as pricing structures and licensing regulations. You may need to consider one-time or subscription fees in addition to extra costs associated with ongoing maintenance.

It’s also crucial to consider how easily your team can manage enterprise-level configuration changes; Is it easy to set up and configure proxy servers across your organization?

Businesses in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare, or working with sensitive data, such as finance, must also comply with appropriate rules and regulations regarding the use of proxy servers.

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