These attacks can also be devastating. For individuals, this can mean a loss of funds, identity theft, or unauthorized purchases. For organizations, it can mean the same but on a larger scale. Attackers can gain access to company secrets, financial information, client data, and more.
Regardless of the attack being to an individual or an organization, those on the receiving end typically sustain major financial losses, must recover from tarnished reputations, and could lose significant client-company trust. Some phishing attacks are so harmful that they can break a business beyond repair.
A popular example of a phishing attack is one that asks users to reset a password. For example, you receive an email from an address that claims your user password is about to expire and you must enter a new one to renew your account. Upon clicking the link, you will be redirected to a page that looks identical to that of the real service’s page. As you enter your old and new password, an attacker monitors your keystrokes uses your inputted password to gain access to the real service or website. These types of attacks are highly effective.
As mentioned above, phishing attacks have become more sophisticated in recent years. Now, users need to worry about regular phishing attacks—which act like a shotgun, targeting a wide-array of users at random—and spear phishing attacks—which target a very defined and researched group of individual users.