What are the different types of Phishing attacks?


As we move further into the digital age, cyber criminals are continuing to refine and develop new methods to secure valuable and sensitive data from individuals and businesses. One of the most common ways that businesses are targeted is often through Phishing attacks via imposter emails and malicious web links. In this article we break down the different types of Phishing attacks to help businesses and individuals identify threats and make the right decisions when they arise.

What issues arise for a business that has been victim to a Phishing attack?

The main goal of a Phishing attack is to use disguised emails to trick recipients into believing that the message is something that would want, or need, to respond to. For example, this could be a request from an insurance company or bank, or a message from someone they work with asking for a password, to click a link or download an attachment. Through this link or download, malware can be installed onto the users computer, exposing sensitive information about the person or business.

The results of a successful attack can be detrimental to individuals and businesses, regardless of size or industry. For individuals, attackers may be able to access bank or card details, make unauthorised purchases on your account, remove funds from your account and in the worst case, steal your identity. The same applies for businesses, however the risk is on a much larger scale with customer information, staff information and general business information can be compromised.

What are the most common types of Phishing attacks?

There are various different types of Phishing attacks that impact individuals and businesses alike. Some of the most common include:

Email Phishing

Most commonly, phishing attacks are sent via generic emails under fake domains that mimic real organisations like banks and insurance companies for example. The email will often use an organisation name, for example ‘Barclays Banking’ in the local area of the email address, such as ‘hsbcbanking@domainname.com’ making the email appear in the targets inbox as ‘HSBC Banking’.

To combat these types of attacks, always check the email address that the message has been sent from if the message is asking to follow a link or download an attachment. You will notice inconsistencies in the address and always follow your gut if something doesn’t seem right.

Spear Phishing

Spear Phishing is similar to a general Email Phishing attack however slightly more sophisticated and targeted. Often in Spear Phishing the attacker will already have some personal data about the email recipient such as name, job role, company name, individual email address or other specific information that would usually be unchallenged.

This makes it easier for the attacker to gain the trust of the recipient, by having information that only a legitimate source could obtain. Again, to combat this type of attack it is up to members of staff to be vigilant of requests to follow links or download attachments of any kind.


The most targeted of Phishing attacks is what is known as Whaling. These attacks specifically target senior executives in the same way as both Email & Spear Phishing, however the emails can often be much more subtle.

These attacks often don’t bother with fake links as the attacker is imitating a senior member of staff. Most commonly, attackers will position the message as something similar to a tax return or other business function that would require the recipient to fill out a large volume of sensitive data including bank account information.

How can businesses avoid falling for these common Phishing attacks?

Ultimately, your first and last line of defence is your staff and ensuring they can identify these threats when they arise.

Protect your business by empowering your staff to recognise potential threats that they can deal with in confidence. ClearYolk’s ‘Go Phishing’ Phishing protection software uses simulated phishing attacks and security awareness training campaigns to educate employees, making them the best defence against cybercrime.

We combine the most validated credential exposure data in the marketplace with the tools to test, train and measure employee knowledge. Understanding and being able to identify Phishing threats as and when they appear is critical for Organisations who want to provide comprehensive security to their employees and customers.

If you feel that your business could benefit from our Protection service, contact our team at info@clearyolk.com or give us a call on 0800 3688 977, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or further details you would like to know.

DIfferent Types Of Phishing Attacks

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Additional Domains No 1 3 5
Personal Email Addresses (Gmail / Icloud etc) No 10 30
Monitored Router IP & Device IP Breach No Yes Yes Yes
Dedicated Account Manager No No Yes Yes
Fully managed Service No No No Yes
Go Phishing No No No Yes
Staff Training No No No Yes
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