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Related to Spear phishing: social engineering


("brand spoofing", "carding", after "fishing") /fishing/ Sending e-mail that claims to be from some well-known organisation, e.g. a bank, to trick the recipient into revealing information for use in identity theft. The user is told to visit a web site where they are asked to enter information such as passwords, credit card details, social security or bank account numbers. The web site usually looks like it belongs to the organisation in question and may silently redirect the user to the real web site after collecting their data.

For example, a scam started in 2003 claimed that the user's eBay account would be suspended unless he updated his credit card information on a given web site.


Pronounced "fishing," phishing is a scam to steal valuable information such as credit card and social security numbers, user IDs and passwords. Also known as "brand spoofing," an official-looking email is sent to potential victims pretending to be from their bank or retail establishment. Emails can be sent to people on any list, expecting that some percentage of recipients will actually have an account with the organization.

Email Is the "Bait"
The email states that due to internal accounting errors or some other pretext, certain information must be updated to continue service. A link in the message directs the user to a Web page that asks for financial information. The page looks genuine, because it is easy to fake a valid website. Any HTML page on the Web can be copied and modified to suit the phishing scheme. Rather than go to a Web page, another option asks the user to call an 800 number and speak with a live person, who makes the scam seem even more genuine.

Anyone Can Phish
A "phishing kit" is a set of software tools that help the novice phisher copy a target website and make mass mailings. The kit may even include lists of email addresses. See pharming, vishing, smishing, twishing and social engineering.

"Spear" Phishing and Longlining
Spear phishing is more targeted and personal because the message supposedly comes from someone in the organization everyone knows, such as the head of human resources. It could also come from a made-up name with an authoritative title such as LAN administrator. If even one employee falls for the scheme and divulges sensitive information, it can be used to gain access to more company resources.

The "longline" variant of spear phishing sends thousands of messages to the same person, expecting that the individual will eventually click a link. The longlining term comes from using a large number of hooks and bait on a long fishing line, and mobile phones are major targets for this approach.

Report a Suspected Scheme
Any suspected phishing scheme can be reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at
References in periodicals archive ?
In a spear phishing attack, victims are tricked into clicking on something -- a web link or an e-mail attachment -- that allows hackers to surreptitiously connect to their systems, allowing them a foothold they can exploit to laterally move throughout the network until they find useful information.
Based on observed targeting patterns, APT33 likely used these domains in spear phishing emails to target victim organizations.
Barracuda Sentinel recommends the regular training and testing of employees to increase their security awareness of various targeted attacks, multi-factor authentication and spear phishing and cyberfraud defense.
Targeted spear phishing attacks present much more of a threat, as they often pick just one or a few targets and come armed with intimate information about a potential victim.
A new scam known as "smishing" is similar in many ways to phishing and spear phishing, but instead of sending deceptive emails, "smishers" use text messaging to trick recipients into responding with personally identifiable information (PII).
Typical TTPs include the use of social engineering such as spear phishing, network intrusion techniques and custom malware toolsets and utilities.
Topics of the 24 papers include ISIS discourse in radical Islamic online news media in Indonesia, Singapore case studies of radicalization, Western female migrants to ISIS, social media analytics for intelligence, linguistic marker detection, and spear phishing.
India, June 6 -- A Pakistan based cyber attack group has been trying to exploit Indian government data by sending spear phishing emails to the government employees, as per a Fireeye blog.
Email phishing and spear phishing are quickly becoming more sophisticated, and more targeted, than ever before.
The UAE, however, was the number one target in the region for spear phishing, in which attackers target specific individuals or companies.
According to the SANS Institute, 95% of enterprise data breaches start with a spear phishing attack.
A massive 95% of data breaches start with a spear phishing attack, according to the SANS Institute.