Trivia

Hard

Whaling Is A Type Of Phishing Directed At?

IT Workers
Security Researchers
Government Officials
Business Executives
image from an FTC animation intended to educate people about phishing tactics.
Federal Trade Commission/Wikimedia

Answer: Business Executives

Phishing is an attempt by scammers to collect sensitive information from their targets such as login credentials, credit card data, and/or financial data. While early phishing attacks generally targeted individuals in a broad sense (like sending out a fake email from PayPal or American Express in an attempt to get information from anyone who could be tricked into responding), phishing attacks have grown in variety and sophistication.

One specific and very niche type of phishing attack is known as “whaling” because of the size (in terms of power and potential value) of the target: business executives. From the phisher’s standpoint, it is a much better use of time to target someone within a company that has a high degree of power and/or access to the company infrastructure. By “whaling” a high ranking executive, they can gain access to their computer, to sensitive corporate documents, and otherwise gain access to the company with a much greater degree of ease than brute force attacking the company’s security measures.

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