Purchasing receives an automated phone call from a bank asking to input and verify credit card information. The phone number displayed on the caller ID matches the bank. Which of the following attack types is this?
Correct Answer: C
Section: Threats and Vulnerabilities
Vishing (voice or VoIP phishing) is an electronic fraud tactic in which individuals are tricked into revealing critical financial or personal information to unauthorized entities. Vishing works like phishing but does not always occur over the Internet and is carried out using voice technology. A vishing attack can be conducted by voice email, VoIP (voice over IP), or landline or cellular telephone.
The potential victim receives a message, often generated by speech synthesis, indicating that suspicious activity has taken place in a credit card account, bank account, mortgage account or other financial service in their name. The victim is told to call a specific telephone number and provide information to “verify identity” or to “ensure that fraud does not occur.”
If the attack is carried out by telephone, caller ID spoofing can cause the victim’s set to indicate a legitimate source, such as a bank or a government agency. Vishing is difficult for authorities to trace, particularly when conducted using VoIP. Furthermore, like many legitimate customer services, vishing scams are often outsourced to other countries, which may render sovereign law enforcement powerless.
Consumers can protect themselves by suspecting any unsolicited message that suggests they are targets of illegal activity, no matter what the medium or apparent source. Rather than calling a number given in any unsolicited message, a consumer should directly call the institution named, using a number that is known to be valid, to verify all recent activity and to ensure that the account information has not been tampered with.
A: A hoax is something that makes a person believe that something is real when it is not. A hoax is usually not malicious or theft.
B: Phishing is the act of sending an email to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.
Phishing email will direct the user to visit a website where they are asked to update personal information, such as a password, credit card, social security, or bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The website, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the information the user enters on the page.
Phishing emails are blindly sent to thousands, if not millions of recipients. By spamming large groups of people, the “phisher” counts on the email being read by a percentage of people who actually have an account with the legitimate company being spoofed in the email and corresponding webpage. In this question, a telephone call was received so this is an example of vishing rather than phishing.
D: Whaling is a specific kind of malicious hacking within the more general category of phishing, which involves hunting for data that can be used by the hacker. In general, phishing efforts are focused on collecting personal data about users. In whaling, the targets are high-ranking bankers, executives or others in powerful positions or job titles.
Hackers who engage in whaling often describe these efforts as “reeling in a big fish,” applying a familiar metaphor to the process of scouring technologies for loopholes and opportunities for data theft. Those who are engaged in whaling may, for example, hack into specific networks where these powerful individuals work or store sensitive data. They may also set up keylogging or other malware on a work station associated with one of these executives. There are many ways that hackers can pursue whaling, leading C-level or top-level executives in business and government to stay vigilant about the possibility of cyber threats. In this question, the ‘attack’ was targeted towards the purchasing department rather than company executives.