Phishing vs Spoofing

Phishing vs Spoofing has always been a concerning topic. Phishing and Spoofing are two different types of cybercrime that can look very similar to the untrained eye. However, there are differences between them and how you should handle them as a consumer.

When someone attempts to use the identity of a valid user, it is called spoofing. Phishing, on the other hand, is a situation when a criminal uses deceptive social engineering techniques to steal a user’s private and sensitive data.

Have you ever been confused about both? You might want to know what the differences are between Phishing and Spoofing. Let’s have a look at both!

Spoofing vs Phishing: An Overview

Cyber incursions are now frequently utilized to perpetrate white-collar crimes like identity theft, data leak, and credit card fraud, thanks to technological advances and widespread internet access. The most popular techniques for online criminals or fraudsters to damage, manipulate, or destroy a computer system or network and inflict financial loss are phishing and spoofing emails. 

Both spoofing and phishing pertain to electronically produced or faked papers. Hence they are somewhat interchangeable terms. Although spoofing methods are frequently used in phishing, Spoofing is not always regarded as phishing.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is an attempt by an unauthorized party to trick you into disclosing personal information. It usually happens when you receive an email that appears legitimate but contains links or attachments that direct you to a fraudulent website designed to steal your personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. 

Around 25% of all data breaches involve phishing, and 85% of data breaches have a human component, according to Verizon’s 2021 DBIR.

Phishing emails may look like official messages from banks, online shopping sites, or other trusted companies asking you to update personal information — such as account usernames, passwords, or security questions. So it’s important to double-check any links contained within these emails before clicking on them.

What is Spoofing?

Spoofing is a method used by cybercriminals to pose as reputable or well-known sources. Attackers use fake email domains as legitimate sources. Spoofing can take many forms, including fake emails, calls, DNS spoofing, GPS spoofing, websites, and emails.

By doing this, the adversary can interact with the target and access their systems or devices with the ultimate purpose of stealing data, demanding money, or infecting the device with malware or other malicious software.

The spoofing attack aims to access sensitive information, such as your username and password, credit card number, or bank account details. Spoofing is also commonly used in phishing attacks. And almost 90% of cyber activities involve spoofing.

Phishing Vs Spoofing: Key Differences

Techniques

Spoofing and phishing are two types of attacks that can be used to extract sensitive information from users. Both use fraudulent email messages to trick users into divulging personal information or downloading malware, but they differ in how they operate.

  • Spoofing, also known as identity theft, involves sending out fake emails that appear to come from a legitimate source. The goal is to get the recipient to reveal personal information like passwords or credit card numbers. Phishing is one form of Spoofing; it involves sending out fake emails that request recipients to click on links or download attachments to provide more information about themselves.
  • Phishing typically involves using social engineering techniques and focusing on creating an emotional response from the victim by creating urgency or pity. Spoofing is more technical and often involves creating an identical-looking inbox for the victim so that it’s impossible for them to tell which email is real and which one isn’t.

Purpose

  • Spoofing is done to get a new identity: The idea behind it is to trick the victim into believing that they are communicating with someone they know and trust. This can be done through email, instant messaging, or social media, like Facebook.
  • Phishing is done to get confidential information: The goal is to trick you into giving up your personal information. It could be passwords and credit card details, making you believe that the message you received is from your bank or another trusted institution or service provider.

Ways to Prevent Spoofing

There are several ways to prevent spoofing attacks from happening in your organization, including:

Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

SPF is a method of combating email spoofing. It’s used to verify whether or not an email sender is authorized to send messages on behalf of a domain. If it’s not, the receiving server can reject the message immediately.

The SPF record contains a list of IP addresses authorized to send mail for a domain. The record is placed in the DNS zone file for each domain. You can use the free SPF checker tool by PowerDMARC. 

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)

DKIM verifies that an email is legitimate and hasn’t been tampered with during transmission. It does this using digital signatures added to the message during transit, which the receiving server’s DNS records can verify.

Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)

DMARC allows you to set policies for how your organization handles fraudulent emails that claim to be from your company but aren’t coming from your organization’s servers. These policies include things like setting up complaint-handling procedures and instructions for how you want ISPs should handle suspected spoofed emails from your domain.

Ways to Prevent Phishing

Phishing attacks can be very convincing. They often come from official-looking email addresses, contain familiar logos and images, and even sound like the real thing. To avoid falling for these tactics:

  • Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails if you don’t know who sent them.
  • Look for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors in emails that claim to be from reputable companies.
  • Check your credit card statements regularly to ensure nothing looks out of place. If you see something suspicious, contact your bank immediately.
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi at cafes or hotels because hackers can access your data while sitting next to you on the same network.

Final Words

Put succinctly, and phishing is where you attempt to gather sensitive information from a target by impersonating a trustworthy agent. Spoofing is when you intentionally try to deceive the message’s recipient into thinking it came from someone or somewhere else. As you can see, there’s a distinct difference between the terms, but both can cause severe harm to your personal information and credibility.

The best way to prevent yourself is to talk to experts at PowerDMARC and use their solutions to ensure that you’re on the safe side.

Latest posts by Ahona Rudra (see all)