Cybercriminals Devising More Tactics For Phishing Attacks

By   Adeola Adegunwa
Writer , Informationsecuritybuzz | Mar 16, 2023 09:10 am PST

Cybercriminals are constantly improving their phishing attacks by implementing new strategies and techniques. In an effort to deceive victims, get around security controls, and stay undetected. Phishing is a form of social engineering assault that is frequently employed to obtain user information, such as login credentials and credit card details. It happens when an attacker deceives, luring a target to open an email, text message, or instant messaging by disguising themselves as a reliable source.

A dangerous link is conned into being clicked by the recipient. This can cause malware to be installed on the recipient’s computer, a ransomware assault to lock it down, or the disclosure of private data. A company that falls victim to such an attack usually suffers significant financial losses as well as diminishing market share, reputation, and customer trust. Depending on its size, phishing attacks could become a huge security issue that a company will find challenging to recover.

Phishing Attacks Explored by Cybercriminals

  • Attacks using Google Translate web links.

This attack uses badly formatted HTML pages or an unsupported language to prevent Google from translating the webpage. In response, Google provides a link to the original URL and informs the user that it is unable to translate the underlying website. When a recipient clicks on the URL link that the attackers have embedded in the email, they are directed to a phishing website that looks real but is actually a phony one that the attackers control.

Due to the URL pointing to a trustworthy website, these phishing attacks are challenging to identify. Several email filtering solutions will therefore permit these attacks to reach users’ inboxes. Additionally, the attackers can alter the malicious payload during email delivery, making them much more difficult to detect.

  • Fisherman Phishing

Social media has a number of opportunities for crooks to deceive people as a relatively new assault vector. People can be tricked into disclosing private information or downloading malware via fake URLs, cloned websites, posts, and tweets, instant messaging (which is effectively the same as smishing), and cloned websites, posts, and tweets. Alternatively, thieves might develop highly targeted attacks using the information that individuals willingly post on social media.

The prevalence of consumers complaining directly to companies on social media often makes these phishing attacks easy. Organizations frequently take advantage of this as a chance to lessen the harm, usually by refunding the person. Scammers are skilled at appropriating comments to demand personal information from victims. They appear to be doing this to make it easier to receive compensation, but their real goal is to have their accounts compromised.

  • Image-based Phishing attacks.

Spammers frequently employ image-based attacks; attackers increasingly leverage photos exclusively in their phishing attacks. These pictures, which can look like phony invoices or other forms, contain a link or a callback number that, when called, takes the user to phish.

Since these attacks don’t employ any text, conventional email security may have trouble spotting them. In line with recent happenings, image-based phishing attacks will become a more common strategy for cybercriminals in the future, where users get an average of two or more such emails each month.

  • Whaling

Attacks against whales are even more specific and target high executives. Whaling attacks have a similar end result to other phishing attacks, but their method is typically far more covert. Techniques like malicious URLs and false links are useless in this situation because the thieves are posing as senior officials. Another common excuse used in whaling emails is that the CEO is busy and needs the employee to perform them a favor.

Even while the aforementioned emails aren’t as complex as spear phishing ones, they nonetheless prey on workers’ eagerness to follow their boss’s orders. Receivers may be suspicious of irregularities yet be afraid to confront the sender to point out that they are acting up.

  •  The use of Special Characters in attacks

Hackers frequently utilize special characters like punctuation, non-Latin script, zero-width Unicode code points, or spaces to avoid detection. Typo-squatting web address assaults, which spoof legitimate websites but use a small misspelling instead, also employ this type of strategy. The receiver cannot see the special characters when they are used in a phishing email.

The strategy can go something like this: To avoid being flagged as malicious by the security software, the attacker inserts a zero-width (no) gap within the malicious URL present in the phishing email. Due to the fact that special characters can be used for legitimate purposes, such as email signatures, it might be challenging to detect such attacks.

Cybercriminals continue to refine their phishing techniques to catch unwary recipients and avoid being detected and blocked. However, if a malicious email manages to get through, you must train your staff to comprehend, recognize, and report suspicious messages. It would be best if you also had technologies that let you swiftly locate and delete any traces of a malicious email from user inboxes and compromised accounts.

  • Phishing in emails

Email is the primary method of phishing attempts. The fraudster will register a bogus domain that impersonates a legitimate business and submit thousands of boilerplate requests. The fake domain frequently uses character substitution, such as creating the word “rn” instead of the letter “m” by placing the letters “r” and “n” close to one another.

In other instances, the scammers design a particular domain using the real company’s name in the URL. The recipient might believe the email was legitimate since they saw the word “Amazon” in the sender’s address. As a general guideline, you should always check the email address of a message that requests that you click a link or download an attachment. There are various ways to recognize a phishing email.


Phishing attacks operate by sending communications that appear to be from a reliable business or website. The link in phishing emails typically directs the visitor to a bogus website that mimics the real thing. After that, the customer is prompted to provide personal data like their credit card number. The person’s identity is then stolen or unauthorized credit card purchases are made using this information. Phishing is a common starting point for many cyberattacks, including ransomware, financial fraud, and credential theft. People can take precautions to protect themselves from phishing attempts better. One is to exercise caution before disclosing personal information, whether in person or online, using anti-phishing software and multi-factor authentication.

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