Whaling is a highly targeted email phishing attack aimed at senior executives. This $12.5 billion scam often results in the compromise of sensitive information and fraudulent wire transfers.
What Is Whaling?
Cybercriminals recognize that high profile executives within an organization, or “whales”, typically have complete access to sensitive data and the ability to authorize high-value wire transfers, and are valuable attack targets for this reason. Whaling attacks are often successful because due to the potentially high returns of these campaigns, attackers are willing to conduct extensive social engineering research on their targets to make their fraudulent emails seem as real as possible.
Anatomy of a Whaling Attack
The majority of whaling attacks follow four distinct phases:
Cybercriminals gather information available on the Internet from data breaches, social media profiles and corporate websites to build their target list, identifying key executives and their relationships within an organization.
Attackers conduct extensive social engineering research to develop convincing emails impersonating an individual of authority such as the CEO or CFO of a target organization.
Cybercriminals launch whaling campaigns targeting the high profile executives they’ve identified in their target list. Emails sent in these campaigns do not necessarily rely on malicious links or attachments to deceive recipients. Instead, threat actors use stealthy impersonation tactics such as spoofing, look-alike domains, or display name deception.
A combination of urgency and trust convince the victim to proceed with the request in the malicious email, often leading to a data breach or hefty financial loss for the target organization.
The Guardian Digital Advantage
Protect your users, your key business assets and your reputation with a multi-layered email protection system that
keeps whaling attacks out of the inbox.
Safeguards the Inbox against Whaling & Social Engineering Attacks
Due to the extensive time and resources that cybercriminals devote to crafting these scams, whaling emails closely resemble legitimate messages, and often evade the detection of traditional email security defenses like spam filters and desktop protection as a result. Even highly trained executives and IT professionals frequently fall victim to these targeted attacks, often resulting in the authorization of fraudulent wire transfers, the compromise of sensitive business information and the loss of hard-earned client trust.
Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security fortifies the inbox against whaling and social engineering attacks that go after key people within your organization. The intuitive real-time defenses that make up this comprehensive email protection system analyze hundreds of thousands of email attributes including sender-recipient relationships and legitimate sender behavior to prevent the delivery of dangerous whaling emails.
Offers Complete Whaling Protection by Closing Critical Gaps in Native Microsoft 365 & Google Workspace Email Security
Native Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace email protection takes a static, retrospective approach to securing the inbox, and is unable to detect conversation-style and behavioral anomalies to protect against whaling attacks. Despite existing email security measures, 85% of Microsoft 365 users have experienced an email-borne cyberattack in the past year.
Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security closes critical gaps in native Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace email protection with additional layers of proactive email defenses that prevent the most targeted and sophisticated attacks from infiltrating executives’ inboxes.
Bolsters IT Resources to Provide Superior Defense Against Whaling & Other Targeted Attacks
Businesses of all sizes - especially SMBs - frequently experience a shortage of cybersecurity resources and expertise, leaving them unprepared to defend against increasingly stealthy whaling attacks. Small businesses often have less stringent security defenses in place, less awareness of threats and less time and money to invest in protection. Cyberthieves recognize that these companies have the most to lose, and are readily exploiting these weaknesses.
Guardian Digital’s expert ongoing system monitoring, maintenance and accessible support provide a remote extension of your IT team, improving the security of your email infrastructure and optimizing your team’s productivity with reliable, cost-efficient whaling protection.
Phishing Is Evolving.
Are Your Current Email Defenses
Modern phishing scams have introduced a new level of risk for businesses. Attackers are targeting Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace users in increasingly sophisticated campaigns designed to evade built-in security defenses.
Email Risk in Microsoft 365
is Greater than Ever
What's your strategy for preventing loss of email communication and theft in Microsoft 365? Guardian Digital secures Microsoft 365 against the cost of credential phishing and account takeovers.