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Wait, there are many different types of phishing attacks?! Yes, you read that right. Phishing attacks are numerous and varied. They’re the most common type of cyber attack, and their implications for businesses of ANY size are severe. 

From our standpoint as a managed cybersecurity services provider, we work hard to understand and stay ahead of these malicious schemes. Acme Business understands the critical importance of safeguarding your organization against them. In this blog, we’ll explore the diverse types of phishing scams, shedding light on the tactics employed by cybercriminals and providing actionable insights to fortify your organization’s cybersecurity defenses.

Why? Because the costs of a data breach are immense – even for small businesses.

‘Prevalent & Insidious’: Various Types of Phishing Attacks and How to Protect Your Business

I was racking my brain to think of the best adjectives to describe phishing scams. The words “prevalent” and “insidious” immediately came to mind. And in recent years, the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) has made them even more dangerous.

Let’s learn more.

Understanding Phishing Scams on Businesses of All Sizes

Phishing scams are deceptive tactics employed by cybercriminals to manipulate unsuspecting individuals into inadvertently divulging sensitive information or taking actions that compromise their security. 

It’s social engineering with a digital face. Trickery, if you will. Bad actors online manipulate human psychology into doing what they want. These tactics include forgery, misdirection and outright lying to gain access to privileged info.

The primary objective behind phishing attacks is financial gain or data theft, posing significant risks to businesses of all sizes – even small ones.

What are the Most Common Types of Phishing Attacks?

Each of these kinds of phishing scams work a bit differently to target different audiences for different goals. Let’s explore.


Whaling, also known as whale phishing, targets high-level executives (like you) within organizations. (They’re going right after the BIG fish!) Cybercriminals impersonate trusted sources or websites to deceive senior leaders into disclosing sensitive information or authorizing fraudulent transactions. 

Given their access to critical systems and resources, administrators and other execs are prime targets for cybercriminals seeking to inflict maximum damage.

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

BEC attacks target businesses and their employees, typically through compromised or spoofed email accounts. By impersonating executives or trusted vendors, cybercriminals orchestrate fraudulent schemes to trick employees into initiating unauthorized wire transfers or divulging sensitive information. 

BEC attacks can result in substantial financial losses and reputational damage for businesses, underscoring the importance of strong email security protocols.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing involves the targeted distribution of highly personalized emails to individuals or organizations, often masquerading as trusted entities – bosses, co-workers or even friends. Spear phishers do in-depth research on victims, so the attack appears to be from a genuine source. 

Via social engineering techniques, cybercriminals elicit sensitive information or prompt recipients to download malware. Spear phishing attacks are particularly concerning for businesses, as they can bypass traditional security measures by exploiting human vulnerabilities.


Smishing, a not-so-clever mashup of SMS and phishing, uses text messages to deceive recipients into providing personal info or performing financial transactions. By leveraging the immediacy and regularity of mobile communication, smishing attacks exploit individuals’ trust in familiar channels, making them vulnerable to manipulation.


Notice how, among all these types of phishing attacks, they just plug words together to describe them? Vishing, or voice phishing, relies on phone calls to defraud victims by impersonating legitimate entities such as financial institutions or government agencies. 

Through persuasive dialog and social engineering, vishers extract sensitive information or coerce victims into disclosing confidential data. As voice-based communication continues to play a vital role in business operations, organizations must remain vigilant against vishing threats.

Angler Phishing

Angler phishing, also known as social media phishing, exploits social media to trick users into disclosing privileged information or financial details. Cybercriminals create fake customer service accounts to lure unsuspecting victims into sharing sensitive data, posing significant risks to individuals and organizations alike.

Brand Impersonation

Brand impersonation, aka brand spoofing, is the fraudulent use of legitimate business identities to deceive consumers or employees. Through email, text messages or social media, crafty cybercriminals impersonate reputable brands to solicit sensitive information or perpetrate financial fraud. 

As with any other type of phishing attack, falling victim to brand impersonation attacks can tarnish a company’s reputation and erode customer trust. 

Bolstering Your Cybersecurity Defenses from the Different Types of Phishing Attacks

As you know, the world of cyber threats continues to evolve daily. With each advance in cybersecurity, bad actors online work to get ahead of the game. In turn, good guys like us aim to be proactive and regain that competitive edge. 

Businesses must prioritize cybersecurity readiness to mitigate the risks posed by all different types of phishing attacks. Implementing robust email security measures, conducting regular employee training, and leveraging advanced threat detection technologies are key to safeguarding your organization’s sensitive data and preserving its reputation.

Let’s hope your organization doesn’t get caught up in a phishing scam. If you do, call Acme Business at (716) 372-1325. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn for more information and cybersecurity insights.