What you need to know about the latest phishing trends in 2021

What Is a Phishing Attack?

From sending emails that appear to be from legitimate sources to creating fake websites that look exactly like the real ones, phishing is a type of cyber-attack that can affect businesses and individuals alike. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what phishing is, how it works, and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Understanding Phishing

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack that aims to trick unsuspecting individuals into sharing their sensitive information, such as passwords, social security numbers, or credit card details. These attacks are often carried out via email but can also come in the form of text messages or phone calls.

In most cases, a phishing email or message will appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank, online retailer, or social media platform. The message will often include a link or attachment that, once clicked, will take the victim to a fake website designed to look exactly like the real one. From there, the victim will be prompted to enter their login details or other sensitive information.

How Phishing Works

Phishing attacks rely on the victim’s willingness to trust the sender and the message. To make the message appear more legitimate, attackers will often use a technique called spoofing, which allows them to send emails that look like they’re coming from a legitimate domain. This makes it more difficult for the recipient to spot the signs of a fake email.

Once the victim has clicked on the link or attachment, they are directed to a fake website that looks identical to the real one. These fake websites are often hosted on a similar domain name to the legitimate one, with only a slight variation in the spelling or format.

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To further convince the victim to enter their login details, the fake website will often include messages designed to create a sense of urgency and urgency, such as “Your account has been compromised” or “Your account will be suspended if you don’t act now”. These messages are meant to create a sense of fear and panic in the victim, leading them to act hastily without thinking things through.

Examples of Successful Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks can happen to anyone, regardless of their level of tech savvy. Here are some examples of successful phishing attacks from recent years:

- In 2019, the City of Albany in New York fell victim to a phishing attack that resulted in the theft of $300,000. The attack began with an email that appeared to be from a legitimate software vendor, prompting the city’s IT department to enter their login details on a fake website.

- In 2018, a phishing attack targeted customers of Wipro, a major IT services company. The attack resulted in the theft of the customers’ personal information, which was then used to launch further attacks against other companies.

- In 2017, a phishing attack targeted Google users via a fake Google Docs link. The link appeared to be from a legitimate source and prompted the user to enter their login details. The attack affected millions of users and led to widespread concern about the vulnerability of online platforms.

How to Protect Yourself from Phishing

Despite the increasing sophistication of phishing attacks, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your business:

1. Be skeptical of unsolicited emails, particularly those that ask you to click on a link or provide sensitive information. If in doubt, contact the organization directly to verify the authenticity of the message.

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2. Check the sender’s email address to ensure it matches the sender’s name or company. Often, the email address will be slightly different or use a different domain.

3. Hover over links before clicking them to check the URL. If it looks suspicious, don’t click it.

4. Enable two-factor authentication on all accounts to create an extra layer of protection.

5. Educate yourself and your colleagues about phishing attacks, including the warning signs and best practices for avoiding them.


Phishing attacks are a growing threat in today’s digital landscape. By understanding how these attacks work and taking steps to protect yourself and your business, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to a phishing scam. Remember to always be vigilant, think before you click, and never provide sensitive information unless you’re sure the request is legitimate.

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