Cloud security, Cyber Security, Cybersecurity certifications, Microsoft Security

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Phishing: A Simple Yet the Most Dangerous Cyber-attack


Cyberattacks are increasing in today’s society when data and technology have become a vital part of our lives. Phishing is a slightly non-technical attack that is the most dangerous and does not require cybersecurity expertise. Thus, it is widespread these days.

What is Phishing?

Phishing, as the name implies, is a strategy in which the attacker convinces the victim to click any harmful URL or download any malicious file, which is frequently associated with Emails, SMS, and other ways of communication. In this blog, we will look at how attackers lure victims into phishing and what countermeasures everyone should be aware of. These attacks may appear easy but potentially compromise the entire organization.

Figure 1: Steps in Phishing Attack

The motive behind phishing attacks can be to collect sensitive information (login credentials, Session IDs) from the victim’s browser or to infect their machine with malware that can be attached to an email. The attacker then uses this malware to spy on the victim, steal confidential data, infect other devices in the victim’s organization, or for monetary advantage.

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Types of Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks can be classified based on the targeted victim and the communication medium. Following are some of the common types of phishing attacks:

  1. Spear Phishing: This attack uses Email as a medium to send malware-attached files to victims. In this, the attacker crafts a personalized Email and impersonates as authority like the CEO or someone from the company’s administration by spoofing the sender’s mail id. Generally, a sense of urgency is created in such Emails. For example, such emails prompt you to act immediately with a short deadline. This urgency tricks the user into downloading any attachment with the mail or visiting any mentioned URL, which then compromises the victim’s computer.Figure 2: Example of phishing Email In the above example, the attacker asks the user to log in to the provided link, which is a malicious URL. If the user clicks this link and logs in, it will share the credentials with the attacker.
  2. Whaling: It is a phishing attempt in which the target victim is a C-level officer such as the CEO, CFO, or CTO of any organization. A crafted Email is put into action in which the attacker can spoof himself as the CEO of the organization and can ask to provide confidential files or transfer money to some account. According to the confidentiality standards, a C- level official will have access to most sensitive information and resources. If their account is compromised, it is a major threat to the entire organization. So digital security of such accounts and the physical security of their devices is crucial as attackers often tend to use official family members to gain physical access to important devices.
  3. Smishing: Whenever an attacker uses SMS services to send crafted and malicious links to a victim, it is called Smishing. The motive behind such action is to compromise the victim’s bank account. Attackers will impersonate bank officials and try to get the transaction OTP from the victim. Due to the fear of losing money, victims always opt to give out sensitive information to attackers.
  4. Vishing is a phishing attack in which an attacker impersonates someone and makes a phone call to the victim. They can talk as bank officials, police officials, or someone from your organization. In such attempts, the attacker is trained to speak exactly like an official, letting the victim trust them and provide sensitive information. Often attackers ask for CVV numbers of credit/debit cards as they have your card number and other information collected from the dark web services.


Countermeasures for Phishing Attack

1. Train your employees and officials about cybersecurity.
2. Implement robust filtering for Emails.
3. Ensure the physical security of devices that are associated with the organization.
4. Implement strong password policies and MFA (Multi-factor Authentication).
5. Keep all software, operating systems, and applications updated with the latest security patches.
6. Only visit and download content from trusted sources.
7. Check the sender’s email id for any spelling mistakes.
8. Understand the language and pattern of an email in case the sender asks for confidential information or any payment processing.
9. Never share CVV or any sensitive information related to the bank account over the phone call or SMS.
10. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
11. Always verify any URL before visiting by using services like Virus Total.
12. Make use of reputed antivirus software on PC and mobile devices.

Why Getting Educated in Cybersecurity Fundamentals is Important for Professionals?

Acquiring cybersecurity fundamentals knowledge is crucial for IT professionals. With advancing technology and expanding cyber threats, a solid understanding of cybersecurity allows professionals to proactively identify and mitigate risks, protect sensitive data, and secure critical infrastructure. IT professionals competent in cybersecurity can stay ahead of sophisticated cybercriminals, implement robust security measures, and develop effective strategies. Moreover, cybersecurity education helps maintain compliance, protect customer privacy, and safeguard organizational reputation in an interconnected world. IT professionals contribute to resilience against cyber threats by being proactive guardians of digital systems. Also, there are many emerging career options for IT professionals in cybersecurity. Some of them are listed below:

  • Security Analyst: Monitor and protect networks, systems, and data by analyzing vulnerabilities and implementing security measures.
  • Incident Responder: Swiftly respond to and investigate cybersecurity incidents to minimize impact and ensure business continuity.
  • Ethical Hacker/Penetration Tester: Identify network and system vulnerabilities through authorized hacking and recommend strengthening security.
  • Security Architect: Design and build secure IT infrastructures with robust security controls and protocols.
  • Security Consultant: Offer expert advice to improve cybersecurity posture, assess risks, and implement best practices.

You can begin the Cloud security or  Cybersecurity career journey by mastering Microsoft Security courses and earning certifications through CloudThat’s training.


Phishing attacks continue to pose a significant threat to individuals and organizations alike. The ever-evolving nature of these attacks requires constant vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard sensitive information. By understanding the various types of phishing attacks, such as email phishing, spear phishing, Smishing, and vishing, individuals can better recognize and avoid falling victim to these deceitful tactics. Combating phishing attacks requires a multi-faceted approach that includes user education and awareness, robust email filtering and authentication, the implementation of multi-factor authentication, safe web browsing practices, strong password policies, regular software updates, incident response procedures, and continuous monitoring.

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About CloudThat

CloudThat, incepted in 2012, is the first Indian organization to offer Cloud training and consultancy for mid-market and enterprise clients. Our business aims to provide global services on Cloud Engineering, Training, and Expert Line. Our expertise in all major cloud platforms, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), VMware, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), positions us as pioneers. You can explore our Microsoft Cloud Security Certification Courses and always Move Up in the career space by constant upskilling.



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