Whaling: What It Is and How It Works

Whaling: What It Is and How It Works

Dec 15, 2021, 6:46:44 AM Business

Whaling is a highly focused phishing attempt that masquerades as a legitimate email and targets top executives. It is a type of technologically-enabled social engineering fraud tactic that encourages victims to execute a secondary action, such as starting a wire transfer.

Whaling does not need a high level of technical understanding, yet it may yield enormous profits. As a result, it is one of the most serious threats to enterprises. The most targeted companies are financial institutions and payment services, In recent years, however, cloud storage and file hosting sites, internet services, and e-commerce sites are undergoing a greater percentage of attacks.

Whaling emails are more complex than conventional phishing emails since they frequently target chief ('c-level') executives and generally include the following:

  • provide customized information on the targeted company or individual
  • convey a sense of urgency
  • are written with a firm grasp of commercial jargon and tone

Whaling emails are a type of social engineering technique in which the sender attempts to persuade the recipient to perform a secondary action such as clicking on a link to a site that distributes malware, demands a transfer of dollars to the attacker's bank account, or seeks further information about the business or individual in order to conduct additional attacks.

How whaling works

To begin, it is critical to recognize that whaling is a form of phishing assault. In general, there are two sorts of phishing attempts: Phishing and spear phishing.

  • Phishing ‘in bulk’ is analogous to employing a trawl net. Cast your net as broad as you can by sending as many phishing emails as you can, and you're bound to capture a few unfortunate minnows.
  • Spear phishing involves directing your spear (or email) towards a specific fish (or person). Targets are carefully selected, and communications are carefully designed with a particular goal in mind.

So where exactly does whaling fit in? 

Whaling is a sort of spear phishing technique. Whales (or corporate CEOs) are the largest fish in the sea: they're difficult to capture, but if you do, you could make a lot of money. Continue reading for whaling examples to see what we mean.

Why are company executives the prime targets?

A company executive in a high position is the ultimate prize for cybercriminals as they can access information and resources that no other employee can reach. CEOs and CFOs are just as vulnerable to a social engineering assault as any other employee. In fact, they may be even more prone to do so.

A whale assault email often asks the target to make a quick choice. If the employer is anxious, overworked, or busy, they are more exposed to these sorts of intrusions. Furthermore, higher-level employees have greater access to money and data, which are the two things most sought after by hackers.

Common Whaling Tactics

Initially, whaling emails were not substantially more difficult to detect than less focused phishing emails. However, the use of fluent corporate vocabulary, industry expertise, personal references, and faked email addresses has made sophisticated whaling communications difficult to detect even with a keen eye. 

Highly targeted material is now being paired with a number of different tactics that CEOs should be aware of in order to minimize their chances of becoming the victim of a whaling attack. All of these innovations, either make use of pre-existing trusted connections or combine a cyber assault with non-cyber fraud strategies.

How to Prevent Whaling?

It is critical to remember that whaling is a form of social engineering, and hostile actors will utilize tactics that rely on established trust structures that exist outside the cybersphere. Simply making your workers aware of social engineering dangers does not make them immune. Certain assaults are too well-crafted to be detected by user awareness and training. 

Employee and executive training on social engineering strategies should be considered as part of a sequence of technological and user-based defenses against assaults, although such measures should be recognized for their limits.

Employ EmailAuth’s email authentication solutions such as DMARC, SPF, and DKIM to secure and strengthen your email servers. EmailAuth helps you track the sender addresses and verify them, thus enabling you to fend off whaling and phishing attacks.

To check your already-implemented DMARC record, use our free DMARC checkup tool.

Original source: https://telegra.ph/Whaling-What-It-Is-and-How-It-Works-12-14

Published by nimisha rawat

Comment here...

Login / Sign up for adding comments.

Similar Articles