Spear phishing attacks

What is spear phishing and how does it work?

Spear phishing is a targeted email attack technique that specifically targets individuals or organisations. Attackers use personalised information and social engineering techniques to create deceptive emails that appear legitimate. The aim is to trick the victim into disclosing sensitive information, such as login details, passwords or financial information.

What is the difference between phishing and spear phishing?

Phishing is a mass attack in which generic e-mails are sent to a large number of people, without any specific targeting. Spear phishing, on the other hand, is more targeted and personalised. Attackers carry out in-depth research into their potential victims to create emails that appear authentic and credible.

Glossaire Spear Phishing

How do attackers target their victims in a spear phishing attack?

Attackers may target their victims by gathering information from public sources, social networks or other data available online. They may also send emails to people in key positions within an organisation, such as senior executives or IT managers, to increase the chances of a successful attack.

What are the warning signs of a spear phishing attack?

Warning signs of a spear phishing attack can include emails that seem too good to be true, grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, unusual requests for personal or financial information, suspicious email addresses or links, or an artificial urgency created to prompt quick action.

How can I protect myself against spear phishing?

To protect yourself against spear phishing, we recommend that you :

  • Be vigilant and check the legitimacy of e-mails you receive.
  • Do not click on links or download attachments from suspicious e-mails.
  • Use security tools such as spam filters and anti-virus software.
  • Regularly update software and operating systems to plug vulnerabilities.
  • Train employees to recognise spear phishing attacks and adopt online security practices.

What techniques are commonly used in spear phishing attacks?

Spear phishing attacks can use techniques such as impersonating a known person or organisation, creating fake websites or forms to collect information, using malicious links or infected attachments, or exploiting news events to incite action.

What are the risks and consequences of spear phishing for individuals and organisations?

The risks and consequences of spear phishing can be serious for individuals and organisations. Individuals can fall victim to identity theft, theft of personal or financial information, or even financial fraud. For organisations, spear phishing can lead to data breaches, financial losses, reputational damage and business disruption.

How can I spot and report a spear phishing e-mail?

To spot a spear phishing e-mail, you can look out for signs such as unusual requests for information, grammatical or spelling errors, suspicious e-mail addresses or links to dubious websites. It is important to check the authenticity of the sender and not to click on links or download attachments from suspicious e-mails. If you identify a spear phishing email, report it to your IT security team or system administrator.

How can companies strengthen their security against spear phishing?

To strengthen their security against spear phishing, companies can take the following steps:

  • Set up anti-spam and anti-phishing filters to block suspicious e-mails.
  • Use advanced threat protection solutions to detect spear phishing attacks.
  • Regularly update software and operating systems to plug vulnerabilities.
  • Implement e-mail authentication, such as SPF, DKIM and DMARC, to verify the authenticity of messages.
  • Regularly train employees on email security and best practices for detecting spear phishing.

Example of a spear phishing email

Exemple d'email de Spear phishing

Altospam application

Altospam’s Mailsafe, with all its systems for combating identity theft (SPF, DKIM, DMARC checks, verification of the sending domain, etc.) and by analysing unusual or suspicious elements in the body of messages, can filter out most phishing and spear phishing attempts. We also provide special protection for banking and financial institutions, whose communications are particularly closely monitored and validated, as they present the greatest risk of harm.

Email is the main vector for a cyber attack

New and increasingly sophisticated attacks (phishing, spear-phishing, malware, ransomware, viruses, spam) are being launched around the world every day. Our solution detects and neutralises these threats in real time.