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Phishing attack evolution represented by a fingerprint, circuits, and digital numbers.

Phishing attacks are one of the most common cyberattacks that businesses of all sizes face. They are so common that just about every employee with an email address has encountered this attack type. One reason phishing campaigns have stuck around for so long is that malicious actors change and evolve their attack strategies over time. The malware, vulnerabilities available for exploitation, and delivery methods for phishing attacks change and become more sophisticated as new technologies develop and the resources businesses use age. Here, we want to talk about some of the most common ways phishing evolves to constantly surprise employees and encourage them to click on malicious links or attachments.

New Malware

Many phishing attacks aim to deliver some kind of malware to the users that fall victim to the campaign. Frequently, the malware is either ransomware or some kind of spyware, but malicious actors will use new versions of malware that are developed. New malware has the benefit of slipping past many security services that are not prepared for it or utilizing data encryption and/or exfiltration strategies that occur due to vulnerabilities in a victim’s environment. Because novelty malware often has a higher chance of successfully stealing data, hackers will use tried and true mass-email campaigns to eventually find an employee that accidentally falls victim to an attack that many IT environments won’t be ready to remediate.

Vulnerabilities Turned Exploit

Businesses frequently implement new tools and services into workflows that improve productivity and make work easier for employees. These new tools and services will also bring with them vulnerabilities that can be exploited by phishing attacks to deliver malware or steal information. Hackers are always on the lookout for new vulnerabilities to exploit, so they will shift their attack strategies or malware delivery methods to better slip past security services. Some phishing campaigns can even be focused on vulnerabilities that are only exploitable on outdated software versions, so they will send their attacks to businesses that are likely to not update popular services, such as Microsoft or Google products.

Improved Delivery Strategies

New phishing attack strategies can appear in employee inboxes because hackers have found a new way to trick users into clicking on malicious elements. For example, a recent strategy employed by malicious actors is a browser-in-the-browser attack. This strategy launches a login window within an already opened browser, and this login window can look completely identical to the window a user is expecting. Because the login window is an element of a larger page, it can be tailor made to look as authentic as possible, which makes it harder to detect. New and unexpected strategies like this will quickly become a part of a phishing campaign to take victims by surprise.


Phishing campaigns have remained prevalent because they work. Malicious actors are able to deliver novel forms of malware, exploit new or old vulnerabilities, and deploy surprising tactics that catch users by surprise to keep their attacks effective. Without the right training to identify suspicious activity and common risk factors, a business’ chances of becoming the victim of a successful phishing attack increase, so it is important that every employee receive proper phishing training and know the new threats that appear in your industry. If you want to learn more about phishing strategies and training, then our IT specialists are ready to have a one-on-one consultation today to see how we can help improve your company’s training!

Robinett Consulting

Author Robinett Consulting

At Robinett Consulting, we are your consultative partner who strives to grow your business and have technology truly enabling you. We aim to understand you and your business so that you do what you do best unhindered by your IT.

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