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Phishing is a social engineering tactic where the attacker attempts to get a user to divulge sensitive
information (like username/password, bank account number, personal information, etc.) or go to a
malicious website where such information can be harvested. It uses "bait" such as telling the user that they
are their bank asking for the information or posing as some other authority like the system administrator.
Usually it is delivered by email or Instant Messenger.
Spear phishing is a subset of phishing. Whereas general phishing targets a wide range of people trying to
get some of them to divulge general information, spear phishing targets key individuals who are expected
to have very special access or information that the attacker wants. It could be a company executive or a
military officer. Spear phishing is an e-mail spoofing fraud attempt that targets a specific organization,
seeking unauthorized access to confidential data.
Spear Phishing is easiest and direct method to breach highly secured networks.
Phishing attacks are very common in nature and many of systems and networks has
enabled defense mechanism.
Success rate is very high as user knows about the phishing attacks and unaware of
spear phishing attacks.
Spear Phishing is part of social engineering.
No Cost at all, No tracking back.
Increased usage of social networking made it very easy and reliable to hackers
- Personal data, co- employees, locations, phone numbers , email ids.
Scanning and enumeration
Escalation of privilege
Covering tracks and placing backdoors
It by passes all the traditional attack methodology .
Gets direct front door entrance access.
There is no patch for human Mistakes.
It just by Email /link/attachment same as Phishing, the only difference is , this attack is
specific to targeted domains and targets victims.
From some you trust (Patient attacker)
About something your interest, like, trust.
Attacker gains all the knowledge about victim (user/company) , this knowledge
includes his/her likes, dislikes, Interests, Favorites, Hobbies ,Personal information,
Where does attacker gets all this info from ?
Well, every one knows this answer.
1) Social networking sites
3) Job Portals
4) Matrimonial sites
5) Social engineering
Now attacker creates email similar to victims team mate/supervisor/MD of company
etc. email in different domains. Below are few examples.
Real time example :-
Attackers send the email to which phishing link using all the social engineering
Most of the common scenarios, victim thinks that email is from his
This is how attacker gains the trust of victim.
Never use your personal email for work purpose.
Add Spear Phishing as part of your regular VAPT activity.
Establish Policy and best practices for email usage.
Block all the emails other than self domains ??