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Phishing 101: An Introduction to the Darkest Segment of Cybercrime

Phishing 101: An Introduction to the Darkest Segment of Cybercrime | ARCON Blog

If you are knowledgeable in the scenario of cybercrime, then you probably have heard of the notorious “Nigerian Prince” scam. The creator of this fraudulent scheme claimed to be an official member of a certain royal family and requested millions of cash. They would promise to pay you a hefty sum of fortune if you were to help them.

However, needless to say, once you give your money to the scammer, you will never get it back.

The scam began during the 1980s and has become quite renowned by now. Hence, the usage of the same procedure has become extremely rare in the 21st Century. Nonetheless, various refined variations of the scheme are still active and, plaguing the working-class community, like an incurable disease.

Hence, in this article, we will be going through the core definition of phishing. You will also find out detailed information regarding the tools that can assist you to avoid such scams.

Phishing: A Brief Preamble

Phishing is a segment of cybercrime that involves tricking people into performing a dodgy task. By doing so, the user may make their network system weaker and vulnerable to a well-structured cyberattack. For example, you may receive an email from an unknown sender who’ll ask you to perform a simple task in return for money.

The amount tends to be somewhat absurd. In most cases, after you complete the job, the sender will hack your network system or steal information.

According to a report published by the FBI, phishing is the most prevalent form of cybercrime performed in 2020. The study also mentioned that the number of victims was almost doubled in 2020 since the previous year (114,702 to 241,324 incidents).

Another report (provided by Verizon) stated that amongst the total numbers of attempted breaches in 2020, 43% were performed through phishing.

Although the phishing attempts seem practically illogical and devious, some of the well-written mails can certainly convince you. This was evident in the year 2020 when the USA-based organizations, experienced almost 74% successful attacks.

Nevertheless, if you are careful and have strong network security, you might be able to avoid even a well-structured attack altogether.

Types of Phishing

Phishing is usually used as an umbrella term to designate different cybercrimes with a strong sense of similarity. Here are some of them.

  1. Smishing

A smishing attack generally involves a text message to get the attention of an individual. This type of SMS will contain a phone number or a link that may open the floodgate of the scamming attempts.

In some cases, the text message may also look like it is coming from your registered bank. In this aspect, the sender will ask you about your SSN, bank account number, etc.

Smishing is one of the most common types of phishing and has risen by almost 328% in the year 2020. So, it is essential for you to be wary about the same.

  1. Whaling

Like smishing, whaling is also a type of targeted phishing, which goes after the more affluent organizations. Usually, a whaling attack is attempted on the CFO or CEO of a corporation or management business.

In a whaling email, you may get informed that your company is getting sued for some awkward reason. So, you’ll have to click on a link to get more details.

The link will take you to a separate page where you will be asked to provide crucial information like bank account number or tax ID.

  1. Spear Phishing

Spear phishing, essentially, intends to scam a specific group of people, such as the system overseers, of a business. Unlike whaling, spear phishing emails will try to exploit your personal details. The information regarding the target is reportedly taken from social media.

A spear phishing mail can be categorized by detecting a sense of urgency. It may also relate to a task that goes against the norms of your organization.

The e-mail of the sender of a spear phishing mail tends to be spoofed. Therefore, you won’t be able to track back to the attacker in any way.

Although being a more target-specific segment, spear phishing is still pretty common. In 2020, almost 30% of phishing attacks were known to be done by following this procedure.

How Does Phishing Affect an Organization or a User?

A successful phishing attempt can affect your organization from several directions. Some of these are as follows –

  • Overload the communications system and damage the servers severely
  • Loss of crucial details, such as bank account number, SSN, and other related information
  • Leak of consumer details or marketing strategies

How to Prevent Phishing?

Going through hundreds of spams and detecting anomaly can be quite irritating for an individual. So, it’s better to use a tool that can prevent the senders from sending these emails. Here are two security solutions that may help you out.

  • UBA (User Behavior Analytics): With this tool, you can perform data profiling and find out malicious profiles on Gmail right away. Furthermore, it provides you with detailed insights on several anomalous profiles to keep you wary about them. Finally, it also has the capability of identifying anomalies on your server and detects them efficiently.
  • EPM (Endpoint Privilege Management): EPM can provide you with an on-demand privilege system. Thus, the help-desk integration will be a lot easier. Due to the endpoint privilege, no unauthorizedperson can enter a classified area in the network. Moreover, it can also blacklist malicious applications and mails by detecting if they are a threat to your security or not.


Phishing, or any other form of cybercrime, has become extremely common throughout the world. Thus, it is imperative for you to use a specific tool that can help prevent such attacks and protect your organization’s network environment. Hopefully, implementing UBA and EPM in your system can be beneficial for your purpose.


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