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Remote Employees and Network Security

Working from home is not going anywhere. In fact, research shows that post-pandemic 42% of employees who worked strictly from a company-based location will not return to the office. Do you know how this will impact your business? Learn more about the tools needed to protect your client data and improve employee productivity.


Hacking vs. Phishing – What’s the Difference?

Chad Minkel
3 min read
Mar 27, 2023 10:58:00 AM

With the world becoming more and more digital, hacking and phishing incidents are also more common. Every day, millions of people fall victim to these attacks. Sometimes the terms hacking and phishing are used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. Here is a breakdown of hacking and phishing – and what makes them different.

What is hacking?

Hacking is the act of gaining information that is not authorized. By gaining access to an account or network, a hacker can use it for personal gains.

Hackers fall into three categories.

  • Black hat. Black hat hackers gain access to systems to steal money or achieve other criminal goals. These are the bad actors.
  • Gray hat. Gray hat hackers live in the gray zone of legality. They also gain unauthorized access to systems but don’t steal money or data. They will hack to test their own abilities or assess a company’s security strength.
  • White hat. White hat hackers are penetration testers. They will use the same techniques but only hack when they have permission to do so. Companies can hire white hat hackers to assess their security and help their IT strategy.

What is phishing?

Phishing is pretending to be a trustworthy source to steal sensitive information such as a username, password, or credit card number. Phishing is typically done using email or the cloning of a legitimate website to cast a wide net and then narrow in on susceptible victims.

Three common types of phishing.

  • Spear phishing. This is a personalized attack with a customized email that appears credible. An example would be an email that appears to be from your HR department that asks to confirm your social security number for tax withholdings.
  • Whaling. With this type of attack, the cybercriminal will first target top executives at a company and use their credentials to facilitate wire transfers or business attacks. It’s also known as CEO fraud.
  • Angler phishing. Angler phishing is a newer type of attack involving social media. Attackers entice the target to interact with a fake page to capture the victim’s personal information.

For a more detailed explanation, including examples, we have provided a closer look at these three types of phishing attacks.

What is the difference between hacking and phishing?

Hacking and phishing are related in that they are both ways of obtaining information, but they differ in how they do it. A phish, which ultimately can become a hack, occurs when a user is baited with an email, phone call, or text, and the user is tricked into providing personal information. Phishing attacks are often spoofs of trusted sources or brands. While the victim has been tricked into providing the information, they technically have done so voluntarily.

With hacking, information is accessed involuntarily. The cybercriminal takes over a computer system through brute force or more sophisticated methods to access sensitive data. Hackers may use phishing as a tool to get credentials and personal information that will then later facilitate their hack.

Everyone is a target

Any individual or organization is vulnerable to a cyber-attack. In fact, the risks are growing. Phishing attacks were at an all-time high in 2022. Motives include financial gain, data stealing, espionage, and destroying brand reputation.

The best offense is a good defense. And your employees are your first line of defense. Even with the best security technology in place, malicious contacts, and emails will get through. When that happens, the only thing preventing your organization from a breach is your employees’ ability to detect the threat and respond appropriately. Educating your employees on phishing threats and cybersecurity awareness is essential to protecting your company’s network, data, and reputation.

Locknet® Managed IT’s Security Education and Awareness Training program is the ideal solution for businesses of any size.

  • Bolster your defense by creating a “human firewall.”
  • Pre-test simulated phishing attacks to identify how phish-prone your organization is currently.
  • Employees will learn how to identify common threat tactics such as social engineering, phishing, spoofing, and ransomware.
  • A 36-month online training program includes case studies, live demonstration videos, and final tests to ensure employees retain the information.

When employees are armed with the necessary cybersecurity knowledge, the stronger your first line of defense will become. If you’re ready to bring cybersecurity awareness to the forefront of your employee training program, we’re here to help. Contact the experts at Locknet® Managed IT.


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