Spear Phishing Versus Whaling

Posted by in Security+ | 0 comments

Beyond social engineering, users should know about many common attacks such as spear phishing and whaling. Do you know the differences between these two attacks? You should if you plan to take the Security+ exam. This post should help.

Here’s a sample question:

Q. Attackers are targeting C-level executives in your organization. Which type of attack is this?

A. Phishing

B. Spear phishing

C. Vishing

D. Whaling

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a targeted form of phishing. Instead of sending the email out to everyone indiscriminately, a spear phishing attack attempts to target specific groups of users, or even a single user. Spear phishing attacks may target employees within a company or customers of a company.

As an example, an attacker might try to impersonate the CEO of an organization in an email. It’s relatively simple to change the header of an email so that the From field includes anything, including the CEO’s name and title. Attackers can send an email to all employees requesting that they reply with their password. Because the email looks like it’s coming from the CEO, these types of phishing emails fool many users.

One solution that deters the success of these types of spear phishing attacks is to use digital signatures. The CEO and anyone else in the company can sign their emails with a digital signature. This provides a high level of certainty to personnel on who sent the email. Chapter 10, “Understanding Cryptography,” of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide covers digital signatures in great depth.

Phishing

Full Security+ Course

SY0-501 Full Security+ Course

Helping you Pass the First Time

Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including information on the number of questions, test duration, passing score, types of questions and more. Also includes a listing of the exam objectives)
  • 75 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Identity and Access Management (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Network Technologies and Tools (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Comparing Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Common Attacks (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Protecting Against Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Using Risk Management Tools (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Controls to Protect Assets (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography and PKI (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Policies to Mitigate Risks (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • 75 question post-assessment exam
  • Glossary

Get the SY0-501 Full Security+ Course Here


Test your readiness with these quality materials

Random 75-question tests

Random practice tests from the all of the practice test questions in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

3 sets Performance-based Questions

Three new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 30 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

  • 494 Online Security+ Glossary Flashcards
  • 222 Online Security+ Acronyms Flashcards
  • 223 Online Security+ Remember This Slide from the popular CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

Audio - SY0-501 Security+ Remember This Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over one hour and 20 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Audio - SY0-501 Security+ Question and Answer Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over two hours hour and 53 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Bonus #1

Audio from the end of chapter reviews from each of the chapters in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. Over one hour and 40 minutes of additional audio.

Bonus #2

Access to all of the online content that is available for free to anyone that purchases the CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. This includes labs, extra practice test questions, and supplementary materials

Bonus #3 

Access the study materials for a total of 60 days because sometimes life happens.

Get the SY0-501 Full Security+ Course Here

Whaling

Whaling is a form of spear phishing that attempts to target high-level executives. Las Vegas casinos refer to the big spenders as whales, and casino managers are willing to spend extra time and effort to bring them into their casinos. Similarly, attackers consider high-level executives the whales, and attackers are willing to put in some extra effort to catch a whale because the payoff can be so great. When successful, attackers gain confidential company information that they might not be able to get anywhere else.

As an example, attackers singled out as many as 20,000 senior corporate executives in a fine-tuned phishing attack. The emails looked like official subpoenas requiring the recipient to appear before a federal grand jury and included the executive’s full name and other details, such as their company name and phone number. The emails also included a link for more details about the subpoena. If the executives clicked the link, it took them to a web site that indicated they needed a browser add-on to read the document. If they approved this install, they actually installed a keylogger and malware. The keylogger recorded all their keystrokes to a file, and the malware gave the attackers remote access to the executives’ systems.

Similar whaling attacks have masqueraded as complaints from the Better Business Bureau or the Justice Department. Executives are sensitive to issues that may affect the company’s profit, and these attacks get their attention. Although not as common, some whaling attacks attempt to reach the executive via phone to get the data. However, many executives have assistants who screen calls to prevent attackers from reaching the executive via phone.

Remember this

A spear phishing attack targets specific groups of users. It could target employees within a company or customers of a company. Digital signatures provide assurances to recipients about who sent an email, and can reduce the success of spear phishing. Whaling targets high-level executives.


Security+ Practice Test Questions

SY0-501 Practice Test Questions 

Over 300 realistic Security+ practice test questions

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

Pass the Security+ Exam

the First Time You Take It

Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Learn mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. Use this if you want to make sure that you see all of the questions. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Test mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - 75 random questions. View 75 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 75 multiple choice questions. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.

Get the full bank of SY0-501 Practice Test Questions Here

 SY0-501 Practice Test Questions


INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Three sets of performance-based questions including over 30 questions. These questions show you what you can expect in the live exam. They include drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions. See a demo here.

Bonus - Extra Practice Test Questions

New multiple-choice questions in the extra test bank. Questions are added occasionally. You can see what has been added recently here.

Get the full bank of Security+ (SYO-501) Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Click here if you're looking for SY0-501 Full Study Package

Q. Attackers are targeting C-level executives in your organization. Which type of attack is this?

A. Phishing

B. Spear phishing

C. Vishing

D. Whaling

Answer is D.Whaling is a type of phishing that targets high-level executives, such as CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs. Because whaling is more specific than phishing, phishing isn’t the best answer.

Phishing is email sent to a wide variety of people hoping to trick them into clicking a link or giving up personal information. Phishing is less specific than whaling, so it isn’t the best answer.

Spear phishing is a targeted phishing attack, such as targeting a group of users within a single organization. While whaling is a form of spear phishing because it targets executives, all spear phishing does not target executives so whaling is a better answer.

Vishing is similar to phishing, but it uses the phone instead.

See Chapter 6 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on malware and social engineering.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list and get a free excerpt of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide.  This excerpt includes the introduction and Chapter 1. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Get Certified Get Ahead is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Copyright © 2015 Get Certified Get Ahead. All Rights Reserved.