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What is a Vishing Attack?
A vishing attack is a type of attack that convinces you to reveal personal details, credentials, and more for malicious reasons.
Vishing attacks happen in three forms. The following list will help in a deeper understanding of what is a vishing attack.
- The first and most common vishing attack comes in the form of representatives. Attackers impersonate authorities and inform you that your account has been compromised. Through a convincingly authentic conversation, they will ask you to disclose personal information. On obtaining the information, they will use the information on respective platforms.
- The second type of vishing attack is the obtaining of your data through the means of filthy language or tone. The attacker usually starts the conversation in a friendly or formal tone and on refusing to share the required information, the tone turns informal and filthy or abusive. The content of the filth or abuse usually revolves around the statement that you are doing the wrong thing by not sharing the required details.
- The third and most recent type of vishing attack is the callback attack. The attacker, impersonating a representative, leaves a voicemail on your phone stating that you need to call back immediately to avoid your bank account from being shut down. When you call the attacker, you will be informed that your account can be saved if you share your personal details.
In the above-mentioned types of attacks, the attackers usually impersonate banks, government officials, tax authorities, or police departments.
Recently, attackers have begun to call people stating that they would be provided with free Covid-19 vaccination on sharing the bank details. If you come across any such phone calls, make sure to block the numbers and inform the same to the cybercrime department.
Vishing attacks, as mentioned above, happen through the following four common vishing attacks techniques.
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Vishing Attack Techniques
The following list will help more in understanding what is a vishing attack.
- Dumpster diving: This is a type of data collection technique where the attacker collects data from the trash. Sometimes, data such as phone numbers and addresses are disposed off in traditional ways, and, thus, the attackers use the same to reach out to target customers.
- VoIP: VoIP numbers usually start with 1-800 followed by random digits. These numbers carry the tag of government departments, banks, etc. VoIP numbers are created by vishing attackers. Since such numbers are not easily traceable, this method is popular among vishing attackers.
- War dialing: This is one of the high-level vishing attack methods. This vishing attack method uses a particular software that calls local people with an automated voice and demands personal details.
The automated voice performs the cybercrime by beginning the answered call with the statement that your details are required to verify your account’s current level of safety. The core focus is usually on bank details, mailing addresses, and, sometimes, social security details. Since the call comes with a deceiving similarity to banks and other organizations, people usually do not take time to find whether the call is malicious or not.
- Caller ID spoofing: This is an advanced level of VoIP vishing attack. This method uses a fake number or caller ID to initiate a cybercrime. Usually, the numbers carry a tag of government offices or officials or bank or bank representatives to ensure that people answer the call.
To further the above-mentioned types of vishing attack methods, the following are a few common vishing attack examples.
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Common Vishing Attack Examples
- Telemarketing: This is one of the most popular and recurring examples of voice phishing. This vishing attack claims that you have won or can win a prize or cash if you disclose your personal details. The attacker usually states that the details are required merely to process your prize and nothing more.
- Government representative: It is a natural human tendency to be worried when you get a call from a government representative. Through this type of vishing attack, the attacker uses this basic human instinct against you. The attacker would claim that you need to provide your details to verify whether you are a citizen or not. Since the caller ID usually, in such cases, reflects a government department, it might take time to conclusively decide whether the call is genuine or not. In such cases, make sure to contact the cybercrime department of your jurisdiction to register the incident. You can contact the government office to verify the call as well.
- Tech support: Through this vishing attack, the attacker claims that personal details are required to check whether your Microsoft or Amazon account or anything of such nature is safe or not. The attacker tries to convince you of your account being hacked by stating that there is a spike in your account activity recently. On gaining your credentials, the attacker installs malware or collects personal data, confidential data, and more.
On understanding the various examples of a vishing attack, it is now time to understand the difference between phishing and vishing attacks.
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Difference between Phishing and Vishing attacks
|A phishing attack happens via emails||vishing attacks happen via voice communication. |
|Phishing is an automated attack where the target user has to click a malicious link to enable access to the attacker||In a vishing attack, the target has to manually provide personal details. |
|In a phishing attack, spam emails can be sent to a vast number of people||Vishing attack calls are made to one target at a time. |
|The level of cybercrime expertise is comparatively higher in a phishing attack than in a vishing attack.||The level of cybercrime expertise is comparatively lower in a vishing attack than in a phishing attack.|
Vishing attacks, or voice phishing attacks, are on the rise now. So, it is important to take adequate measures to protect your data from such attacks.
The following are a few popular tips to prevent vishing attacks in the future:
How to prevent Vishing attacks
- Block spam calls on your phone. This can be done either through manual setting adjustment or by installing reliable third party apps.
- Report and block suspicious callers. Try not to prolong the duration of any suspicious call.
- Invest in anti-vishing technologies/ applications
- Perform regular checks on your server for any sign of vishing attack
How To Recognize Vishing
- There are many caller identification apps available right now. Download one such authenticated app from your app store. If the caller ID indicates several spam reports, then it is a huge indication of a vishing attack.
- Calls usually stating that they are from your banks, or from any reputed institution should be seen as suspicious. Usually, the red flags include calling from a private number, asking for your card credentials, and more of such a similar sort. Usually, the person would state that your account is facing some serious trouble. Always cross-verify the authenticity of such calls by calling the relevant institution/ organization immediately.
- Calls that promise you with loan offers/ credit cards/ anything of such nature is a huge sign of a vishing attack.
- Most importantly, in almost all the vishing attacks, the caller would urge you to give the details immediately. The caller would not allow you to think twice or cross-verify the authenticity of the call.
Vishing attacks, also known as voice phishing attacks, usually use the basic human tendency to panic or worry when there is a call from bank or government officials. Since vishing attackers can utilize people’s personal information for any malicious purpose, it is important to take adequate measures against vishing attacks. This will prevent financial fraud to a great extent. You can prevent several attacks by frequently updating yourself on the latest vishing attacks around the world, by reporting the cybercrime incidents immediately to the respective department, and by blocking malicious phone calls and numbers by default.
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