Phishing vs. Fishing: What’s the Difference and How to Stay Safe?

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May 2, 2023

In today’s world of advanced technology, the internet has become an essential tool for almost everyone. However, as we continue to rely on the internet, we also expose ourselves to various threats that could compromise our security and privacy. 

Two of the most common threats are phishing and fishing. While these two terms sound similar, they refer to different things. This article will compare phishing vs. fishing, how they work, and how to stay safe.

Phishing vs. Fishing

Phishing and fishing are two tactics cybercriminals use to deceive their victims. Both involve luring people into providing sensitive information but differ in their approach. 

What is Phishing?

phishing vs. fishing

Phishing is a cyber-attack that involves sending fraudulent emails, text messages, or websites that appear to be from legitimate sources. Phishing aims to trick unsuspecting individuals into providing sensitive data such as credit card details, login credentials, or social security numbers.

It creates a sense of urgency or fear to entice the victim to click on a malicious link or download an attachment. The link or attachment may contain malware or a fake login page that steals the victim’s sensitive information. 

Phishing attacks can be highly sophisticated and challenging to detect, as they may appear from a trusted source, like a bank or government agency.

Types of Phishing Attacks

Email Phishing

Email phishing is the most common attack, where attackers send fraudulent emails to trick people into providing personal information. The email may be from a legitimate source like a bank, an e-commerce website, or a government agency. These emails often contain a link redirecting users to a fake website and asking them to enter sensitive information.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a targeted form that is more sophisticated than email phishing. It targets specific individuals or groups, using personal information to make the attack more convincing. Attackers gather data about their target, like their name, job title, and company, from social media and other sources.


Whaling is a type that targets high-profile individuals like CEOs and executives. Attackers impersonate high-level executives to trick their targets into giving up sensitive information.

Smishing and Vishing

Smishing and Vishing are phishing attacks that use text messages and phone calls to trick individuals into getting their sensitive information.

Clone Phishing

Clone phishing is an attack where attackers make a fraudulent website that looks exactly like a legitimate one, such as an e-commerce website or a social media platform. The attacker then sends an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, encouraging the user to click on the link to the fake website.

Also, See: What is a Common Indicator of a Phishing Attempt?

What is Fishing?

phishing vs. fishing

Fishing is a cyber-attack where an attacker uses various tactics to trick people into installing malware or providing sensitive information. This attack is usually done via fake websites, pop-up windows, or email attachments.

Types of Fishing

Spear Fishing

Spearfishing is a fishing attack targeting particular individuals or groups, using personal data to make the attack more convincing.


Trojans are malicious software that disguises itself as a legitimate program to trick users into downloading and installing it on their devices. Once installed, the Trojan can steal sensitive information or give the attacker remote access to the device.


Baiting is a fishing attack where attackers offer an attractive incentive to trick users into downloading malware or providing sensitive information. Examples of baiting tactics include offering free software, movie downloads, or gift cards.


Pretexting is a fishing attack where attackers create a fake scenario to trick users into giving up their sensitive information. The attacker may pose as an authority figure or someone the user trusts to gain their confidence and trick them into providing information.

Preventing Phishing and Fishing Attacks

There are several steps that individuals and businesses can take to protect themselves from phishing and fishing attacks.


It acts as the initial line of defense against phishing and fishing assaults. People should become familiar with the warning signs of these assaults and refrain from clicking on dubious links or giving out critical information to unauthorized sources. 

Companies should develop rules to secure sensitive data and train personnel on cybersecurity best practices.

Anti-Phishing and Anti-Fishing Software

Anti-phishing and anti-fishing programs can help individuals and companies protect themselves from these attacks. These programs’ solutions can identify and block suspicious links and websites, stopping users from falling victim to these attacks.

Two-Factor Authentication

phishing vs. fishing

Two-factor authentication can provide more protection against phishing and fishing attacks. Attackers cannot access the account even if they have the passcode by making users give a code or use a security key in addition to a password.


Vigilance is crucial in protecting against phishing and fishing attacks. Individuals should be wary of suspicious emails, messages, and sites and avoid using URLs or giving personal information. Businesses should monitor their networks for suspicious activity and apply strict security arrangements to protect their data.


Phishing and fishing attacks are two types of cyber attacks that can cause significant harm to individuals and companies. Phishing attacks aim to steal sensitive information, while fishing attacks focus on installing malware or gaining remote access to a device. Both types of attacks can result in financial losses, identity theft, and damage to reputation.

If you’re looking for a known cybersecurity company to help protect your business against phishing and fishing attacks, consider NextDoorSec. With their experienced team of cybersecurity professionals and excellent technology, they can help protect your data and prevent cyber attacks. 

Saher Mahmood

Saher Mahmood


Saher is a cybersecurity researcher with a passion for innovative technology and AI. She explores the intersection of AI and cybersecurity to stay ahead of evolving threats.

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