How Does Phishing Work?

Blazing CDN - Service Overview
Blazing CDN - Service Overview

Phishing is a type of online fraud that has been around for over two decades. It is a method of stealing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and social security numbers by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an email, text message, or website. Despite its long history, phishing remains one of the most popular and effective ways for cyber criminals to obtain sensitive information. In this blog post, we will explore how phishing works and how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a type of online scam where criminals pose as a legitimate organization and try to trick you into giving them personal information or money. They do this by sending emails or pop-up messages that look like they’re from a real company, and often include links to fake websites that look real.

Criminals usually target large organizations, but anyone can be a victim of phishing. For example, you might get an email that looks like it’s from your bank, asking you to click on a link and enter your login information. Or you might get a pop-up message that looks like it’s from your tax software program, telling you to enter your credit card number to get a refund.

If you fall for a phishing scam, the criminal can use your personal information to commit fraud or sell it to other criminals. That’s why it’s important to be aware of phishing scams and know how to protect yourself.

How does phishing work?

Phishing is a type of cyberattack in which criminals send spoofed emails or texts, appearing to be from a legitimate source, in an attempt to trick victims into providing sensitive information. The information requested can include login credentials, financial information, and more. Phishing attacks can be difficult to spot, as the attackers often use high-quality graphics and mimic well-known brands.

If you receive an email or text that looks suspicious, do not click on any links or attachments. If you’re not sure whether or not the message is legitimate, reach out to the purported sender directly to confirm before taking any further action. Be especially wary of messages that create a sense of urgency, as this is often used as a tactic to get victims to act quickly without thinking.

If you believe you have been the victim of a phishing attack, change your passwords immediately and run a malware scan on your devices. You should also report the incident to your local police department and the Federal Trade Commission.

The different types of phishing attacks

There are four main types of phishing attacks: email, spear-phishing, whaling, and vishing.

Email phishing is the most common type of phishing attack. It involves sending an email that appears to be from a legitimate organization or person, but is actually from a scammer. The email may contain a link to a fake website that looks real, or it may contain attachments that install malware on your computer.

Spear-phishing is a type of phishing attack that is targeted at a specific individual or organization. The attacker will research their target and create an email that appears to be from a trusted source, such as a company they work for or a service they use. The email may contain malicious links or attachments.

Whaling is a type of spear-phishing attack that targets high-profile individuals, such as CEOs or other executives. The attacker will create an email that appears to be from a trusted source, such as the CEO’s assistant, and contains malicious links or attachments.

Vishing is a type of phishing attack that uses voice calls instead of emails. The caller pretends to be from a legitimate organization and tries to get the victim to disclose sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or account passwords. They may also try to get the victim to download malware onto their computer.

How to protect yourself from phishing attacks?

Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and it can be difficult to protect yourself. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of being caught by a phishing attack:

  • Be aware of the signs of a phishing email. These can include things like unexpected requests for personal or financial information, grammatical errors, and spoofed sender addresses.
  • Do not click on links or attachments in emails from unfamiliar senders. If you’re not sure whether an email is legitimate, contact the sender directly to confirm before clicking on anything.
  • Use anti-phishing software to help protect your computer from malicious emails and websites. This software can often block phishing attempts before they reach your inbox.                                                              
  •  Be careful when sharing personal information online. Only enter your information into websites that you trust, and make sure that the website is secure (look for https:// in the URL).By following these steps, you can help reduce your risk of being caught by a phishing attack.


Phishing is a type of online fraud that trick users into revealing personal or financial information. It typically involves an email or other communication posing as a legitimate company or institution, in order to get the recipient to click on a link that takes them to a fake website. This website will then ask the user to input personal information, such as their name, address, Social Security number, and bank account details. Once the phisher has this information, they can use it to commit identity theft or other crimes. Phishing is a serious threat — so much so that the FBI advises everyone to be aware of it and take steps to protect themselves from it.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.