Phishing Vs Spoofing – How Can We Differentiate them?

Phishing Vs Spoofing – How Can We Differentiate them?
Phishing Vs Spoofing – How Can We Differentiate them?
  • Introduction
  • Defining Phishing
  • The Types of Phishing
  • How does Phishing work?
  • Defining Spoofing
  • The Types of Spoofing
  • How does Spoofing work?
  • How does Phishing Differ from Spoofing?
  • Ways to prevent Phishing
  • Ways to prevent Spoofing
  • Conclusion


The virtual world has become a dangerous avenue for various cyber-attacks and crimes, which have resulted in the disclosure of sensitive personal information, identity theft, cyberbullying, and other issues. We’ve heard the phrases “spoofing” and “phishing” used interchangeably much too frequently. It’s simple to see how different these techniques are at their core after they’ve been defined and understood a little more.

Because they both use deception and disguise, it’s simple to understand why they’re so tightly linked. When both sorts of assaults are used in combination, a convincing and seamless double-threat is created. The seeming similarity of the two has led to a misunderstanding about the differences between Spoofing and Phishing. However, the distinction between phishing and spoofing is crucial.

Define Phishing

Phishing is a sort of social engineering assault in which victims are psychologically persuaded into divulging sensitive information or downloading dangerous software. It’s comparable to ‘fishing.’ In the same way that fishermen use fish food as bait to lure fish into a fishing net or rod, cybercriminals utilise phoney offers and warnings as bait to lure consumers into their scam.

A phishing assault can take many different forms, and while it most commonly occurs via email, scammers can use a variety of means to carry out their scams. This is especially true now, as phishing becomes more sophisticated and common. While the purpose of any phishing scam is to obtain personal information, there are a variety of phishing scams to be cautious of.

What are the types of Phishing?

  • Phishing via email (email phishing) — the attacker attacks online via email.
  • Phishing over the phone is a type of phishing.
  • Clone Phishing is a type of phishing assault that targets a company’s senior executives.
  • Spear Phishing – This is a more advanced sort of phishing assault in which a malicious email is delivered to a single recipient.
  • Angler phishing is a type of social media phishing that targets anglers. – either data on social media is stolen with malice in mind, or people are duped into disclosing personal information.
  • Smishing and Vishing – telephones are used to communicate in this situation. Smishing entails sending text messages, whereas vishing entails conversing over the phone.

How phishing works:

The phishing method involves three stages in its most basic form. The Catch, the Bait, and the Hook The first of three steps in a phishing attack is to prepare the bait. This requires understanding precise details about the target, such as whether they use a particular service or work for a particular firm. The attacker must next set the hook after getting the right information to use as bait. To persuade the victim to act, the attacker must either make a promise or scare them into action. Phishing’s third step is the true attack. The hacker sends out the email and waits for the target to bite.

Define Spoofing

Spoofing is a form of computer attack in which the attacker attempts to steal the genuine user’s identity and impersonate them. This type of attack is used to compromise the system’s security or to steal user information.

Spoofing is when an attacker first spoofs or takes a real-time user’s identity before contacting them. The goal of connecting with the end-user is to obtain the user’s personal and sensitive information. So, in essence, the attacker acts as though he or she is a legitimate user in the actual world. This is a case of identity theft in action.

This is extremely dangerous since attackers frequently target large corporations and organisations, steal information, and then link with the target group to hack their systems and steal personal information. In order to obtain your email address and ids, attackers employ the most up-to-date software systems.

What are the types of Spoofing?

  • Email spoofing is when an attacker takes over an existing website and changes the address or creates a fake website. Website spoofing is when an attacker takes over an existing website and changes the address or creates a fake website.
  • IP spoofing is when someone steals or hides their IP address in order to hide their true identity.
  • A phone number is used in Caller ID Spoofing. Such numbers appear to be legitimate, and when the recipient answers the phone, he is prompted to disclose personal information.
  • When thieves redirect traffic to an IP address that includes malware, this is known as DNS server spoofing.

How Spoofing works:

When a hacker deceives a victim by impersonating someone or something they are not, this is known as spoofing. After the hacker has acquired the victim’s trust, the threat is immediate. Spoofers trick people into handing over personal information via email, phone, and SMS, which can lead to financial fraud or identity theft. Spoofing allows an attacker to change the originating IP address in a packet header to a fake or spoofed IP address. This is accomplished by intercepting and modifying an IP packet before it is sent to its intended destination. This means that the IP address looks to be from a trustworthy source – the original IP address – while obscuring the true source: a third-party unknown.


Differentiation: Phishing Vs Spoofing

Between phishing and spoofing, there is a fine line to be drawn.

  • Define

Spoofing is a type of identity theft in which a person attempts to impersonate a legitimate user. Phishing is when someone steals a user’s sensitive information, such as their bank account information.

  • Category

Spoofing is a subcategory of phishing because attackers frequently take the identity of a real user before committing phishing fraud online. Conversely, the reverse is not true. Spoofing cannot include phishing.

  • Purpose

The fundamental distinction between Spoofing and Phishing in terms of the primary goal of the scam is that in Phishing, the goal is to collect sensitive personal data from the receiver, but in Spoofing, the goal is to steal an identity. Understanding the differences between spoofing and phishing is crucial because it allows us to see how the two might be used to a cyber criminal’s advantage.

  • Nature of Scam

When comparing Phishing to Spoofing, keep in mind that Spoofing is not a scam because the attacker does not have access to the user’s email or phone number. In this situation, no information is being taken. Phishing, on the other hand, is a sort of online scam or fraud in which the attacker attempts to steal the user’s data.

  • Method of attack

No harmful software is utilised in phishing; instead, social engineering tactics are used. Spoofing, on the other hand, necessitates the installation of malicious software on the target machine.

Different types of phishing and spoofing spam

Email phishing, phone phishing, clone phishing, spear phishing, vishing, Smishing, and Angler phishing are the two forms of phishing activities. Email spoofing, website spoofing, IP spoofing, Caller ID spoofing, and more sorts of spoofing exist.


  • Spoofing -IP spoofing, email spoofing, and URL spoofing are all examples of spoofing.
  • Phishing – Clone phishing is a type of phone phishing that involves asking for an OTP or obtaining bank account information.

Prevention of Phishing

Despite how effectively thieves create the Phishing scam, you may still detect it and protect yourself. Here are some precautions to take.

  • It’s possible that the email purporting to be from an official source has spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Never open email attachments from unknown or untrustworthy senders.
  • It is recommended that you never send private information over email or phone to anybody. No bank or organisation ever asks for such information over the phone or by email.
  • Make use of your email’s spam filters. Spam filters are incorporated into most service providers, such as Gmail and Yahoo.
  • Install a strong security solution on your computer that can safeguard you online and stop spam emails and websites.
  • Never trust worrisome messages; double-check the sender and make sure the message is legitimate and not intended to cause mayhem. The majority of trustworthy businesses will not ask for personally identifying information or account information over email.
  • Do not open any attachments in these suspicious or odd emails, particularly those in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or PDF format.
  • Embedded links in emails should never be clicked since they could be infected with malware. When acquiring messages from suppliers or third parties, be alert and steer clear of clicking on embedded URLs in the message being received.

Refer The Article To Know How Can I Be a Cyber Security Expert in 2022?

Prevention of Spoofing

  • Be wary of emails that appear to be threatening. To be sure, hover your cursor over the email link.
  • If the sender’s email address appears to be unfamiliar, do not respond.
  • Check for grammatical and spelling mistakes in the email.
  • Check with the caller or email sender if you receive a questionable phone call or email.
  • To open or download an attachment, do not just click on any link. Only do so if you have faith in the source.
  • Avoid clicking on the ‘Click Now’ buttons in emails.
  • Make that URLs, websites, and emails are all spelt correctly.
  • Never give your personal information over the phone or online.
  • Anti-virus, firewall, and anti-malware software should all be installed on your computer.
  • To ensure that the site is genuine and safe, look for the lock pad symbol.
  • Report spoofing attempts
  • Conclusion

Given the aesthetic parallels between the two phenomena, it is clear that the distinction between Phishing and Spoofing is an underappreciated domain. The line of difference, however, does exist, no matter how thin it may seem.

When it comes to the goal and character of the two attacks, the differentiation is evident. As a result, the debate over phishing vs. spoofing is a serious one. It is critical to maintain vigilance and caution when interacting with the internet world!

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