Phishing and spear phishing are two forms of cyber attack used to steal personal information, such as login credentials, financial information or other sensitive data. However, they differ in their methods and targets.
Phishing is a general, untargeted attack. Attackers send phishing e-mails en masse to a large number of people, hoping to mislead some of them. These e-mails appear to come from legitimate organizations, such as banks, online services or well-known companies. Phishing e-mails often try to trick recipients into divulging personal information or clicking on malicious links, which can redirect them to fake websites designed to steal their information.
Spear phishing, on the other hand, is a more targeted and sophisticated attack. Attackers carry out in-depth research into their target, often specific individuals or companies, in order to tailor phishing e-mails to make them more credible and convincing. Spear phishing e-mails may contain specific personal or business information about the target, making them more susceptible to deception. For example, an attacker may pose as a legitimate colleague, IT manager or business partner to gain the target’s trust and induce them to divulge sensitive information or perform malicious actions.
In short, phishing is an untargeted mass attack aimed at deceiving large numbers of people, while spear phishing is a targeted attack that is tailored specifically to an individual or organization, using personalized information to increase the attack’s chances of success.