Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Netiquette IQ Blog Of The Day - Whaling

Phishing is a term most Internet users have a familiarity about. Whaling is a far newer term which applies, as noted below, to specific accounts. The recent Sony breech is a classic example. This, will probably begin a new trend.

Whaling attacks: Taking phishing attacks to the next level

Nick Lewis Techtarget.com
Whaling attacks take phishing to the next level with much bigger targets. Enterprise threats expert Nick Lewis explains how to mitigate the risk.
I've heard of a phishing attack and understand its implications, but lately I've been hearing more and more about whaling attacks. What is a whaling attack and are there specific actions an enterprise should take to defend against it?
Whaling attacks are a sub-type of phishing attacks. According to the official WhatIs.com definition, "whaling is a type of fraud that targets high-profile end users such as C-level corporate executives, politicians and celebrities." Think of it like spear phishing against high-value, high-profile targets. Famous individuals including Paris Hilton were whaling victims before the term came to fruition. "Whales" are at increased risk due to the public nature of their personalities and lifestyles. Because there are additional risks to going after these targets, their service providers might also be targeted to get access to their clients' personal information.
If someone were to use pretexting to socially engineer a password reset for Paris Hilton's smartphone, the phisher could easily gain access again to whatever sensitive data she had saved on the device. Companies targeting whales as customers may want to keep these types of attacks in mind so they are not used to attack the whale itself.
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