What You Know About What Is A Whaling Attack? And What You Don’t Know About What Is A Whaling Attack ?

Do you know the difference between Phishing and Whaling attack? If not, then this guide is for you. Let’s quickly learn the difference.

What is a Whaling Attack?

A whaling attack, also known as whaling phishing or a whaling phishing attack, is a specific type of a phishing attack. It directly targets seniors or other important individuals at an organization with the goal of stealing money, sensitive data, or gaining access to computer systems for criminal purposes.

In this attack, the hacker targets a Big fish, yes you got it right, from whom they could get high-value money transfers or trade secrets. Whereas, in a phishing attack the attackers target the employees or users to gain private or sensitive information like credit card details or bank details. These types of attacks come under social engineering attacks.

What is a Whaling Attack

What is a Phishing Attack?

With typical phishing, attackers cast a wide net. This often means spamming a mailing list. Only a fraction of recipients need to respond to make it worthwhile. Regular phishing attacks usually ask the target for money and promise to repay more money after. The attacker then takes the money and vanishes.

How Whale Phishing Works?

  • Urgency: One normal phishing strategy is to make a desire to move quickly. Whaling assaults are the same. Whaling attacks normally infer huge results and a brief timeframe outline. Urgency pushes the target to even consider their actions.

  • High risk / low effort: The attacker may threaten to a great extent or public relations exposure. These threats would be harmful to the company’s brand and value or individual. The hacker wants the target to bypass the security protocol. Usually, the action is quite simple as compared to the loss. One example might be clicking a link to a website that installs malware. This attack uses a significant threat in order to get a low-effort response.

  • Explicit Details: Whaling attacks can yield high rewards. Attackers spend considerable time and effort on the attack or victim. Social engineering is widely used to obtain personal information or personable Identifiable Information (PII). They perform a tremendous amount of research of the company to learn the names and achievements of different employees and use the details to gain the target’s trust. If the target trusts the attacker, they are more likely to follow their instructions.

  • Impersonation: Another common trick is the use of impersonation. A hacker can utilize details from the organization to impersonate a higher official. For example, an attacker might pose as a senior director and ask for an employee payroll report. Or, they may pretend to be a colleague known by the target. Often, the email address is spoofed to look authentic. Spoofing can include a valid-looking email address and company brand logos.

How to Prevent Whale Phishing?

Educate employees in leadership or sensitive positions
  • This includes all of the senior management or senior leadership. It’s also wise to educate employees in sensitive positions like IT, Project management, and accounting. Employees in executive positions also make tempting targets. Provide mandatory training to ALL employees to be wary of phishing and whaling attacks. If employees know what to watch for, they can protect themselves.

Flag emails coming Externally

  • Whaling attacks usually impersonate someone from within the company. Flagging external emails can warn users that the email is external and you have to pay extra attention to handle. Attackers rarely attack from within the same company. This strategy can raise awareness of an attack.

Practice and enforce good email hygiene

    Users shouldn’t click on suspicious links or unsolicited attachments.

    • If the user did not specifically request the email, they should take extra care. Anything that requires immediate and drastic action should be verified. Scan emails with a virus and malware scanner. Hover a mouse pointer over the sender’s name to see the real email address. To be on the safer side, hover the mouse pointer over any link embedded in the email body to check the full URL source.

    Provide security awareness training to ALL

    • Security awareness training is key. Train your staff periodically on data security procedures, best practices, and how to check for suspicious phishing emails and how to report suspicious emails to Security Operation Center (SOC). Instruct sensitive employees to verify unusual requests before acting on it.

    Active Threat Protection Keeps your Business Safe From Whaling and other Phishing Attacks

    Whaling is similar to spear phishing – just with bigger fish.

    •  Whaling targets bigger victims in order to maximize their efforts to yield much bigger rewards, Though anyone can be vulnerable to social engineering, security training remains the best frontside defense. High-level employees should expect to be a target, and defend themselves on priority. In the event of a data breach, incident response planning can help mitigate damage.

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