Ready to Start Your Career?

What Should Employees and Managers Know About Spear Phishing Attachment

Prasanna Peshkar's profile image

By: Prasanna Peshkar

March 15, 2022

In the past few years, many users have heard about phishing emails. This is a vicious bogus email asserting to arrive in the email box from a person or a firm; usually a bank or credit card firm. Phishing emails from people generally profess substantial monetary prizes if a user gives his bank details. The proclamation to be from a bank or credit card firm will normally direct to a situation with the user’s account instructing them to verify his details by giving bank details or other sensitive data.

Such emails are generally developed and mailed out en masse by utilizing a list usually consisting of multiple email addresses ‘gathered’ over a while – spamming. The text of the spam is broad and non-specific. It means that they are sometimes easy to notice as fake. This has evolved in developing an alternative approach to phishing attacks – Spear Phishing.

What is a Spear Phishing Attack?

Spear Phishing is a kind of deception in which attackers send tailored emails to particular users within a firm. Spear phishers depict themselves as familiar or entrusted individuals or managers, tricking victims into giving private data, transferring money, or downloading harmful malware.

It is important to note that phishing and Spear Phishing are cyber-attack techniques that try to gain sensitive or personal information online. The difference is that the first is widespread while the second is targeted. In phishing, a trickster can transfer one phishing email to numerous recipients at once, throwing a broad trap in attempting to hook targets. But Spear Phishing tries to target weak users by utilizing specific requests and personal information to show confidence.

What is Spear Phishing attachment?

The Spear Phishing attachment is a precise form of this attack. In other words, it utilizes the help of malware attached to an email. All types are electronically furnished social engineering concentrated on a particular user, firm, or enterprise. In this technique, attackers attach a file to the email and depend on User Execution to complete implementation. It may also include social engineering methods, such as pretending as an entrusted authority.

There are many possibilities for the attachment, such as Microsoft Office files, software files, PDFs. Upon clicking the link or opening the file, the attacker’s payload manipulates a vulnerability or instantly runs on the user’s machine. The email message generally endeavors to provide a convincing reason why the file should be opened or downloaded and may demonstrate how to avoid system security to accomplish so. It may also include directions on decrypting the file, such as a zip file password, to bypass email perimeter protection.

How is Spear Phishing used in targeted attacks?

Various methods can be executed. Common techniques contain:

  • An attacker sends an email to their victim. That email may contain malicious URLs or files that the victim will be asked to click or open, downloading viruses or ransomware to their machine.
  • An attacker sends an email that demands the victim to an imitated website in which the victim is requested to deliver private data such as bank account details or access codes.
  • An attacker pretends as a friend, colleague, manager, or other delegated entity requesting usernames and passwords to get data that they will utilize to exfiltrate data elsewhere.

Spear Phishing attacks on any company focus on the vulnerable things – its workers. A standard one might focus on a more all-around bunch of workers with what seems like a company-related or task-related email. So employees might receive an assignment email from their “superior” that includes a link or a malicious attached file that could reveal their whole network to attacks. Alternatively, they may seem to “inspect” logins or passwords.

An “exemplary” attack will employ a reliable person or company as a shell, contain adequate attributes to make it appear honest, make a reasonable proposal or possess a good piece of appeal. Email or social media accounts are generally utilized to create the process.

For example, by understanding how a company’s internal email is managed, the managers names, critical clients, and who is the director of marketing/sales, an attacker could compose a believable email to the leadership team from the director of sales about a critical matter connecting to one client.

The email could express that the recipients must check the message by clicking on a particular link—a link that seems like their intranet portal but is a malicious link to catch usernames and passwords. Financial groups are usually targeted during tax season with Spear Phishing attacks, acting to be forwarded from firm CEOs or CFOs requiring critical paperwork checked.

Why do attackers use Spear Phishing Attachments?

Almost any attacker can send a phishing email with an attachment such as PDF files, thus why Spear Phishing Attachments are so well-known.

They have been highly influential for an extended period. First, attackers would implant malicious files or links as attachments in email texts. Then, when the email service providers set rules to make that tough, they developed and embraced other techniques, including drive-by downloads, manipulating vulnerabilities, implementing malicious macros, and firing payloads in different file formats.

Attackers have been implanting macros in Microsoft Office documents and employing them to install malware since the mid-2000s. Although the craze of malicious macros has reduced and rushed over the years, other malware-installing instruments such as drive-by downloads arrived. Yet, macro-based phishing techniques have conquered in recent days, and they’ve become more powerful than ever with the help of malicious codes and scripts and mechanisms such as PowerShell.

How to prevent Spear Phishing attacks?

The common knowledge to combat phishing also applies to Spear Phishing and is a helpful guideline for protecting against these attacks. Avoiding clicking links in emails is an unassailable direction to containing much of the injury phishing-kind attacks can build. Companies must secure their policies, reference these more state-of-the-art tactics, and enforce more robust solutions to help familiarize employees to protect consequently.

Extra advice to help companies to thwart spear phishing attacks contain:

  • Remind workers to be mindful of emails with uninvited files and links continually, and send reminders of spear-phishing threats.
  • Enforce threat intelligence solutions to trace and thwart phishing and Spear Phishing drive links.
  • Execute phishing understanding training programs to keep adequate security procedures against spear phishing.
  • Encourage all the employees to notify doubted phishing emails so that the security team can prevent spear phishing movements presently underway against the company.

While it is not always possible to evade all cybersecurity incidents, having a robust security strategy is an ideal place to begin. Utilizing multi-factor authentication (MFA) can significantly decrease the effect of spear-phishing attacks. MFA demands a user supply two or more identity proof aspects to access protected resources, reducing the chance of spear-phishing success. Even if an attacker obtains a password, it is worthless without the necessary authentication measures. Nevertheless, it’s also essential not to reuse an identical password across numerous accounts.

Schedule Demo