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Breaking Down Cybersecurity with Blue Layer: What is Spear Phishing?

Created at July 15, 2021

If you’re a frequent visitor to the Blue Layer blog, then you’ve likely become quite familiar with phishing and are quickly becoming an expert at identifying what it looks like. Today, we’re expanding that base of knowledge by digging deeper into a specific brand of phishing called “spear phishing.” First, let’s recap what phishing is.

Phishing “the process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity using bulk email which tries to evade spam filters.” (KnowBe4)

Now that we’ve refreshed ourselves with the broad definition of phishing, it’s time to zoom in on spear phishing, specifically:

spear phishing

Spear Phishing — “an email targeted at a specific individual or department within an organization that appears to be from a trusted source.” (KnowBe4)

Where phishing is used as a more broad term to explain these types of cybersecurity breaches, spear phishing offers a more targeted and sophisticated approach by combining more advanced hacking techniques with thorough research on their individual victims.

According to a recent report outlined in this KnowBe4 blog, cybercriminals have become incredibly effective at combining sophisticated spear phishing techniques with BEC (business email compromise) attacks to craft deceptive traps that are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from legitimate sources. One such example of this type of attack is vendor email compromise (VEC), a kind of attack in which hackers target a company’s critical supply line information as a means to collect fraudulent payments. VEC is deceptive, sophisticated, and, as many businesses are finding out the hard way, costly.

Learn More About VEC Here: Is Your Business at Risk of a Vendor Email Compromise (VEC)?

So, when cybercriminals are so dedicated to deceiving your business by such sophisticated and tedious means, what can be done to combat them? One of the most effective ways to distinguish malicious spear phishing attempts from legitimate communication is through Security Awareness Training with Blue Layer.

Our training modules are designed based on the very latest industry information so that the instruction that your employees receive is always ahead of the scams that they might encounter.

Click here to learn how Blue Layer can protect your business.