Comparisons8 min read

What is the Difference Between Spoofing and Phishing?

Spoofing vs phising

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Understanding the differences between spoofing and phishing is important for cybersecurity. While both are deceptive techniques that cybercriminals use, spoofing involves impersonating entities to gain unauthorized access, and phishing tricks individuals into revealing sensitive information.

 

In 2022, over 84% of organizations faced phishing attempts at least once, underscoring the need for robust security measures. Implementing protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC helps us identify and block spoofed (parody) emails to protect us from cyber-attacks.


What is Spoofing?

Spoofing is a cyber-attack where attackers mask their identity with a trusted entity to gain unauthorized access, steal users’ information, or install malware in the system.

 

Imagine receiving a spoofed email from your bank’s official mailing address, with an attached URL encouraging you to fill in your account details to add the extra security layers. But that is actually from a scammer who used the advanced mail header technique to alter the appearance of the mailing address.

Types of Spoofing

There are different types of spoofing with different spoofing techniques, but they all have the same goal of misleading the users. Below is the list of the 4 most popular spoofing.

Email Spoofing

Email spoofing involves sending emails with fake sender addresses pretending to be a trusted source with minor changes in the original mailing address, making them appear legitimate. It generally contains links to a spoofed website that directs you to that malicious website. The spoofed email typically has an urgent message that makes you click the link. Once you click, you get trapped.

 

The spoofed email targets the audience of trusted companies like Walmart, Microsoft, and Amazon. In 2023, Walmart was the most spoofed website, with 39% of total spoofing attacks.

DNS Spoofing

DNS Spoofing redirects the user to a malicious address by sending the wrong IP address for the requested domain name.

 

Every domain name, like google.com and facebook.com, corresponds with a unique IP address in the DNS Server. When the user requests the services through the domain name, the user gets redirected to the corresponding IP address of that domain. In DNS Spoofing, the attackers redirect the user to the malicious IP address instead of their corresponding IP address.

 

You should avoid public networks, and use the DNSSEC (DNS Security) extension and a trusted anti-virus to prevent your device from DNS Spoofing.

Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID spoofing, also called spoof calling, means altering the caller ID information displayed to the recipient before making the call.

 

While some spoofing is legitimate, such as those by detectives and police officers for investigating purposes, malicious spoofing to harm others is considered a crime.

 

The spoof call made to harm others falls under crime. All spoof calling is not illegal, as detectives and police officers also use spoof calling. You can use spoof calling to prank your friends and families.

 

To protect yourself from spoofing calls, always verify the caller ID before answering a call, and consider hiding your caller ID when contacting sources you do not trust.

GPS Spoofing

GPS Spoofing means manipulating GPS locations by broadcasting false GPS signals to receivers, primarily masking the operating area and presenting a different location.

 

GPS manipulation is possible using technologies like VPNs or advanced hardware. Manipulation has become easier these days with the availability of free and inexpensive services like VPNs.

 

While GPS spoofing made to harm others is a crime, using GPS for research purposes without the intention of hurting others is legal. You can use GPS spoofing to access services unavailable in your region.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is an improper behavior that sends fraudulent emails and messages pretending to be the trusted source to steal users’ data, including login credentials and credit numbers.

 

In 2022 alone, over 4.7 million phishing attacks were observed, even though Google successfully blocks 99.9% of scam emails. The sole purpose of the phishing is to steal the user credentials and data.

Types of Phishing

There are different types of phishing with the same goal of stealing the user’s data and information using various techniques. Below are listed the 4 popular phishing types.

Email Phishing

Email phishing is the most popular attack, in which the attacker sends a fraudulent message to many people to reveal their sensitive information.

 

The email generally contains auspicious and greedy messages (like a high lottery amount and high-paying jobs) to make the trap easier. Email phishing targets many people with the same message, hoping to get some into a trap.

 

Verifying the email and message authenticity by checking the mailing address is the easiest way to stay safe from email phishing attacks.

Voice Phishing

Voice phishing, also called vishing, involves fraud calling, posing from a legitimate source (like crime branches, banks, or service providers) with different greedy offers to trick users into revealing confidential information.

 

Scammers may use deep fake technologies to clone the voice of a trusted source or people to run the scam more smoothly. Scammers may request a few initial payments for huge rewards on returns.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing targets a specific group having access to the target company to make them reveal the confidential information of that company.

 

Spear phishing messages are more specific for an individual team to steal the login credentials from specific teams by behaving like a legitimate team member. The scammer crafts the message well-researched to make it appear legitimate. The message generally includes visual proof to make the team or people trust and share the confidential information.

Whaling Phishing

Whaling phishing, or CEO fraud, is a cyber attack that targets high-profile executives (such as CEOs and senior managers) hoping for higher returns. “Whaling” is derived from the whale, the giant creature. It aims to get secret information about the company and the trades. A well-researched and well-structured plan is used for the whaling phishing, making it more difficult to detect the fraud.

 

Recently, the Hong Kong-based multi-national company (name not revealed) got scammed of $25 Million through whaling phishing, where the scammer used deepfake technology to mimic the CFO for confirming transactions on video call.

Critical Differences Between Spoofing and Phishing

Spoofing means misleading the user to a malicious copycat source, while phishing means stealing the users’ information and data.

 

Aspects

Spoofing

Phishing

Definition

Someone pretends to be someone else.

Stealing information using spoofing techniques from the users' system.

Objectives

To mislead users into accessing the malicious source.

To steal the user's credentials.

Law Enforcement

The spoofing made with the intent to harm others falls under crime.

All kinds of phishing are crimes.

Prevention

Using advanced email protocols, monitoring networks, and educating the users can prevent spoofing.

Its prevention includes using antivirus, email filtering, and anti-phishing awareness.

Examples

GPS Spoofing, Caller ID spoofing, Email Spoofing.

Email Phishing, Spear Phishing, Whaling Phishing.

How to Protect Against Phishing Attacks?

Protecting against phishing attacks includes using the anti-phishing tool, verifying sender identity, checking for suspicious links, and verifying the request for information.

 

  1. Use Anti Phishing Tool: Use the anti-phishing tools that will help with spam filters and phishing detection. Many mail providers have built-in anti-phishing tools, and there are also third-party providers

     

  2. Verify Sender Identity: Always verify the sender’s identity before pursuing the communication or sharing any details with a new email. Look for slight changes in the mailing address.

     

  3. Check for Suspicious Link: Check if there is any attached link with the message by hovering the mouse over it. Make sure the URL is from a trusted source.

     

  4. Verify Request for Information: Always verify if someone requests a transaction or confidential information before sharing. Use the other communication channels for verification, like voice calls and video conferencing.

     

  5. Be Caution with Attachments: Never click on the attachments if they come from an unknown source, as they may contain ransomware and can compromise your system.

How to Prevent Spoofing?

To prevent spoofing, use email authentication protocols, educate the user, keep the software updated, enable email filtering, and stay behind a firewall.

 

  1. Use Email Authentication Protocols: Email authentication protocols like DKIM (Domain Key Identified Mail) prevent spoofing by verifying the email's authenticity with the domain's key.

     

  2. Educate the Users: Educate the employees about spoofing and its symptoms so they can identify and stay safe from spoofed emails.

     

  3. Keep the Software Updated: The updated software has many security enhancements to sustain against the new spoofing technologies and methods. Using the updated software always protects you from spoofing.

     

  4. Enable Email Filtering: Ensure you have enabled filtering to filter out spam and spoofed emails before they reach your inbox.

     

  5. Stay Behind Firewall: A firewall is the most vital tool that filters out spammy requests and blocks them to keep your system working fine.

Conclusion

Over 3.4 billion spoofed emails are sent daily, impersonating a trusted sender. Identifying spoofed emails involves recognizing altered mailing addresses, researching the mailed company, using the spoofed recognizing software, and being wary of urgency. Sometimes, scammers use the email header to mask their original mailing address with a trusted one, which you can find by clicking “show original” in your Gmail. Staying protected from spoofed emails will protect you from phishing attacks, as spoofed emails are the first step in any attack.

 

Calilio enhances your security with its advanced Caller ID Name feature, which displays the name associated with the number. It helps you identify who is calling and makes it easier to avoid spoofed and phishing calls. Sign up today and stay one step ahead of cyber threats.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the similarities between spoofing and phishing?

Both spoofing and phishing are social engineering attacks that are used to steal the users’ information by tricking them.

What is a spoofing attack example?

An example of a spoofing attack is getting an email that appears to be from your bank, but actually, it’s a scammer trying to get your account information.

What is a standard indicator of a phishing attempt?

A standard indicator of a phishing attempt is a message that creates a sense of urgency, making the user act quickly.

What are the 2 most common types of phishing attacks?

Email and spear phishing are the two most common types of phishing attacks, accounting for over 91% of total phishing attacks.

What do you do if you click on a phishing link?

If you click on a phishing link, immediately close the window and change your password. Also, run the scan through your computer to see if there is any malware.

What type of attack relies on spoofing?

Phishing attacks rely on spoofing to steal the users’ credentials, behaving as a trusted source.


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