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Phishing vs Vishing vs Whaling vs Smishing

In this section of our Cyber Security Guide, we’ll discuss various types of cyber-attacks that you should be aware of. Understanding these attack types can help you recognize and defend against them.


Phishing is an attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as login credentials or credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. This usually occurs via email. The attacker often creates an email that appears to be from a reputable source, such as a bank, social media platform, or even a known contact. The email may contain a link that directs the victim to a fake website, where they are asked to enter their credentials or other sensitive information.

How to protect yourself:

  • Be cautious when opening emails from unknown senders
  • Look for suspicious signs in the email, such as poor grammar or inconsistencies in branding
  • Always hover over links in emails to check the actual URL before clicking
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your online accounts


Vishing, or voice phishing, involves attackers using phone calls or voice messages to persuade victims into revealing sensitive information, such as banking details or passwords. Vishing attacks often rely on social engineering tactics, tricking the target into believing they’re speaking with a legitimate company representative or authority figure.

How to protect yourself:

  • Be cautious when receiving unexpected phone calls, especially from unknown numbers
  • Verify the caller’s identity by asking for details only the legitimate party would know
  • Avoid providing personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call and trust the recipient
  • If in doubt, hang up and call the known, verified number for the company or institution the caller claimed to represent


Whaling is a specific type of phishing attack that targets high-profile individuals, such as executives, celebrities, or politicians. These attacks tend to be more targeted and sophisticated, as the attacker has likely conducted extensive research on the victim.

How to protect yourself:

  • Be aware of the potential risks associated with a high-profile position
  • Utilize strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts
  • Train employees on phishing and whaling techniques to minimize the likelihood of a successful attack
  • Regularly conduct security audits to ensure your organization’s security measures are up-to-date


Smishing, or SMS phishing, is the act of using text messages to deceive victims into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious software. The attacker may include a shortened URL or a phone number, attempting to trick the victim into following the link or calling the number.

How to protect yourself:

  • Be cautious when receiving unsolicited text messages, especially from unknown senders
  • Check the sender’s phone number to ensure it’s legitimate or corresponds to the alleged source
  • Never click on suspicious links included in text messages
  • Install mobile security software to protect your device from potential threats

By staying informed about these various attack types, you can better protect yourself and your organization from falling victim to cyber threats. Remain vigilant and ensure you have proper security measures in place to minimize the risk of these attacks.

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