Does phishing really work?

You’re making a big deal about phishing and spear phishing. Does anybody fall for that?


Dear Control Engineering: I’ve seen two articles recently on your site about phishing, once in the Real World Engineering blog and Matt Luallen’s column. Does this really work? Does anybody fall for “free gas for a year?”

Phishing has grown as an attack method because it works. A case in point: If you were paying attention to the stock market, you know that the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped very quickly earlier this week after there was a tweet from the Associated Press saying that bombs had gone off at the White House. This was because the Twitter account of one of the AP staffers had been hacked. The lesser known part of this story was that the AP staffer had fallen for a spear phishing scheme.

As SC Magazine reports, “…the intruders were able to glean the AP's Twitter login credentials thanks to a spear phishing email that targeted some staffers just prior to the compromise. Victims were directed to a sign-in form and asked to enter the username and password for the account.”

This is by no means an isolated incident. Read Matt Luallen’s column for advice on training your people so they know when the hook is in the water.

Peter Welander,

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