Angler Phishing: What IT Professionals Must Know to Combat a Growing Threat


As technology continues to evolve, so do the methods employed by cybercriminals. One particularly dangerous tactic that is on the rise is angler phishing. In this article, we will explore what angler phishing is and why it poses a growing threat to organizations. We will also discuss the potential impacts of falling victim to angler phishing attacks and provide actionable steps for IT professionals to protect their networks against this insidious form of cybercrime.

What is Angler Phishing?

Angler phishing involves the use of highly convincing bait to trick individuals into falling for a cyber attack. This type of phishing attack often disguises itself as legitimate customer service communication, making it difficult for victims to identify the deception. For example, the FTC recently highlighted an angler phishing scam targeting delivery drivers and restaurants. By understanding its key characteristics and common tactics used, IT professionals can better protect their organizations from angler phishing threats in 2023.


Angler phishing is a sophisticated cyber attack that involves the use of convincing bait and customer service tactics to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious software. Unlike traditional phishing, angler phishing specifically targets victims through social media platforms and reputable websites, making it more difficult to detect.

  • Introduction to angler phishing
  • Explanation of how angler phishing differs from traditional phishing
  • Overview of the purpose and goals of angler fishing

Key Characteristics

Attackers often employ the tactic of creating convincing and legitimate-looking websites or advertisements as bait to trick unsuspecting users. These deceptive platforms are designed to mimic reputable brands, making it difficult for users to distinguish between what is genuine and what is a cyber attack in disguise. By capitalizing on user trust, attackers exploit vulnerabilities in popular platforms and software.

How Attackers Exploit Vulnerabilities

In their quest for exploiting security loopholes, attackers actively seek out vulnerabilities within widely used platforms and software. By identifying weaknesses that may exist due to outdated systems or unpatched applications, they can launch angler phishing attacks with greater success rates. This constant cat-and-mouse game highlights the need for IT professionals to remain vigilant against emerging threats.

Real-time Attacks

An alarming characteristic of angler phishing attacks is their real-time nature. Attackers are quick-witted in adapting their techniques according to current events or trends, leveraging customer service channels as a means of deceiving victims promptly. The ever-evolving landscape calls for proactive measures from IT security teams who must stay ahead by continually monitoring new tactics employed by cyber criminals.

Common Tactics Used

Social engineering techniques employed by attackers can vary, but they often involve manipulating individuals into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that benefit the attacker. These tactics rely on psychological manipulation and use various methods to gain the trust of their targets.

Attackers frequently employ redirect mechanisms to guide victims to malicious websites. This can be achieved through email phishing campaigns, where victims are lured into clicking on a link that appears legitimate but redirects them to a fraudulent site. These redirects are designed to deceive users and collect their personal information or install malware on their devices.

“Bait-and-switch” tactics involve deceptive website content or offers. Attackers create convincing webpages that mimic legitimate websites or services, enticing users with false promises such as discounts or freebies. Once users engage with the content, they may unknowingly provide sensitive information or become victims of a cyber attack.

By understanding these common tactics used in angler phishing attacks, IT security and risk management professionals can better protect their organizations from falling victim to these deceptive schemes.

Why Angler Phishing is a Growing Threat

Angler phishing is a growing threat due to its sophistication. This form of attack has become more prevalent as cybercriminals continuously adapt their tactics to circumvent security measures. With the ability to deceive even tech-savvy individuals, angler phishing poses a significant risk that IT professionals need to be aware of and prepared for.

Increased Sophistication and Effectiveness

Advancements in technology have greatly aided angler phishing techniques, allowing attackers to create more convincing and sophisticated scams. By utilizing social engineering tactics, such as impersonating trusted contacts or using personal information gathered from online sources, attackers are able to deceive their targets and increase the likelihood of a successful phishing attempt.

Impacts of Angler Phishing

Financial Losses

Angler phishing poses a significant risk to organizations, resulting in substantial financial losses. By impersonating trusted entities and using deceptive tactics, attackers gain access to sensitive financial information and funds. The cost of remediation, legal fees, and potential regulatory fines further escalate the financial impact.

Reputation Damage

Falling victim to angler phishing can have severe consequences for an organization’s reputation. When customers or clients are tricked into providing personal information or becoming victims of fraud through these attacks, trust is compromised. This can lead to a loss of business opportunities and damage the company’s brand image in the long term.

Protecting Against Angler Phishing

Protecting your business from the impacts of angler phishing requires both education and proven security measures:

1. Employee education and awareness are crucial in preventing angler phishing attacks. Regularly train employees on how to identify and report suspicious emails, websites, or phone calls. Encourage them to verify the legitimacy of requests for sensitive information before providing any data.

2. Implement advanced security measures such as multi-factor authentication, email filtering systems, and secure browsing tools to mitigate the risks associated with angler phishing attempts. These proactive measures can help detect and block malicious actors attempting to deceive employees into divulging confidential information without their knowledge or consent. Bolster’s social media monitoring features are particularly valuable as part of these measures.

3. Monitor network traffic for patterns indicative of angler phishing attacks.

Employee Education and Awareness

Recognizing common angler phishing techniques is crucial for ensuring the security of your organization’s sensitive information. By training employees on how to spot suspicious emails and links, you can empower them to be the first line of defense against potential attacks. Creating a culture of skepticism towards unexpected requests further strengthens this defense, as it encourages employees to question and verify before taking any action. With a well-educated and aware workforce, you can significantly reduce the risk posed by angler phishing threats.

Implementing Advanced Security Measures

Deploying robust email filtering systems is crucial in protecting against angler phishing attacks. By implementing advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques, these filters can identify and block suspicious emails before they reach employees’ inboxes.

Additionally, utilizing multi-factor authentication for account access adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification. This helps prevent unauthorized access even if passwords are compromised. Lastly, implementing strong password policies and regular updates ensures that employees are using secure passwords that are difficult for hackers to guess or crack. Regularly updating passwords further reduces the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Continuous Monitoring and Incident Response

By implementing advanced monitoring tools and analyzing data, IT professionals can identify suspicious activities such as unusual URL requests or unauthorized access attempts. Additionally, establishing an incident response plan enables organizations to respond quickly and effectively to mitigate any potential breaches that may occur. This includes having clear protocols in place for notification, containment, eradication, recovery, and lessons learned. Regularly assessing system vulnerabilities through penetration testing further strengthens the organization’s security posture by identifying weak points before they can be exploited.

  • Monitor network traffic for angler phishing attack patterns
  • Establish an incident response plan for quick mitigation
  • Regularly assess system vulnerabilities through penetration testing

Bolster offers a solution for automating your monitoring and response. 


To combat the growing threat of angler phishing, continuous training and awareness among IT security professionals is crucial. By staying updated on the latest techniques used by cybercriminals, organizations can better educate their employees to recognize and respond to these attacks effectively. Furthermore, implementing robust security measures such as multifactor authentication and encryption can significantly bolster defenses against angler phishing attempts. Proactive efforts in training and implementing strong security measures are essential for safeguarding sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.