What is Whaling? How To Prevent Whaling Attacks!

6 mn read

Whaling is high-profile targeted cyber attacks that include high-level executive profiles, senior management authorities, and people of important posts in a company or organization. These attacks are also called spearheaded attacks because they include all the leading players and frontrunners in an institute or organization. It works by preying on the main entities to hijack the whole system that comes under that prominent post. These are some of the most intense security breaches that put the whole underlying system at risk. People involved in this type of attack are tricked into committing some acts which lead to the ultimate downfall of the whole system.

How Does A Whaling Phishing Attack Work?

High-Profile Targets

Whaling attacks cover prominent people holding important positions in an organization. They are CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, and important decision-makers for the associated institutes. Cybercriminals aim to steal all the important data, sensitive information, and financial controls attributed to these top professionals in an organization.

Personalized Social Engineering

Whaling attacks involve con and impersonate activities which are used to trick the high command into taking some action that ultimately benefits criminals. It involves convincing messages, tasks, and responsibilities that seem to come from trusted sources but in reality, they come from malicious platforms. As the leading professionals follow them and act according to them black hats launch their operations at once.

Deceptive Content

Malicious attachments, emails bundled with unknown links, and provoking content are some common practices used by cybercriminals to deceive individuals with high profiles. Individuals believe messages to be legitimate and authentic but they are not from them. It makes them take action. As soon as they commit this mistake they become trapped by the bait laid by the hackers.


Attackers use fake IDs, and names to project themselves as high-ranking individuals, and business partners to earn the trust of chief-level officials. It may include spoof emailing, similar domain names, and stolen accounts from the associates of the targeted organization. These tactics help them reach the top-level management team and ask them for information and access to the important data that in turn accomplish their evil goals.

Financial Gain

Financial gains are one of the main goals of all the whaling cyber attacks. Chief financial officers are often the target of these types of attempts. They are asked to allow certain permissions, tricked into transferring fraudulent wire transfers, or reveal important details about financial transactions. One wrong step and all the information is compromised immediately.

Deep Investigation

Before launching full-fledged operations cybercriminals collect all the information about their target. They get all the information from the officials. After that, this data is used to create convincing messages and call-to-action operations that persuade important officials to commit mistakes that cost them greatly.

Malicious Payload

Malware plays a crucial role in this whole process of tricking top-level professionals into committing mistakes. Online hackers use phishing emails as bait to trap and manipulate individuals to commit a mistake. Phishing emails contain malicious attachments and links that when clicked download malware and spyware on the system. Once these malware are in the system they encrypt all the data, steal all the information, and track all the target activities related to financial and important business deals.

Urgency and Pressure

Cybercriminals use unique tactics and weave elegant plots to lay the trap. These stories are based on situations and potential results which create a sense of urgency and pressure on the victim to take a certain action. It is convincing to them that if they do not make these decisions as soon as possible they are putting all things revolving around the company or organization at stake. Feeling this pressure, authoritative people often make instant decisions and even ignore the mandatory safety measures in the whole process.

Response and Impact

Hasty decisions and quick action without thinking about safety protocols help the whaling process quicken and complete ultimately. Once black hats are successful in manipulating their target, committing the mistake they hijack all the databases, important details, and passwords. Once all the information is gained it is used to promote illicit financial gains and ask for ransom from the targets.

Covering Tracks

Cybercriminals erase all the footprints and traces after committing the crime. They delete all the accounts and emails, web portals, and communication channels that are utilized to conduct the whole whaling process. It is done to make sure a public investigation agency can reach them or trace them back to how they committed this crime.

How Can You Prevent Whaling Phishing?


If you are in an executive-level position in an organization then you have to be careful and well-prepared to deal with these malicious threats. You need to equip your management with a multi-layered firewall and security measures to stay one step ahead of all the whaling attacks. Here are some important suggestions that you can use to immune yourself from such dangerous attacks:

User Training

You have to educate your employees and prominent officials who are in key positions in the organization involving financial and executive operations. It would be better to train them and drill them under a certain program that is specifically designed to respond to and investigate suspicious actions before making any crucial decision. It will help them detect and decide what is right and whether it is the doing of some external entity.

Email Filtering

Emails are one of the most common ways to bundle malicious links, URLs, and phishing. Using advanced software that filters your emails and identifies the resources involved in it is highly important to keep yourself secure from cybercriminals. This method will help you detect and recognize the sender of the email and detect the content for suspicious content.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Make sure that all your systems are protected with the multi-factor authentication mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access to your important accounts. Use complex forms of passwords that involve combinations of numbers, digits, and symbols with complex formats. Avoid simple and easy-to-guess passwords that are similar to your names, contact numbers, house numbers, etc.

Incident Response Plan

If ever you mistakenly become a victim of a whaling attack you have to be prepared to recover all things back to normalcy. This will include a quick incident response plan. In this plan, you can add special blocking systems and disconnectivity from the main database or channel without which it is impossible to complete the targeted actions.

Regular Security Audits

You must conduct regular security checks to make sure all the important accounts, databases, and financial transactions are well secured. Patch up all the weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and loose ends that may lead to any malicious activity. Keep passwords updated and accounts locked away from ordinary access points. Never open up about the controls and licenses that you are allowed to practice in the organization. Keep things secret and hidden away from public eyes. It will keep the attackers in a despondent condition for making any attempt to breach the security.

Security Awareness

It happens that people working in an organization just work passively without paying much attention to the activities going on in front of their eyes. This behavior can be irresponsible and harmful to the reputation of the organization. It is important to cultivate responsible behavior and culture among the employees in which they feel responsible towards the company. In this culture, they will be able to observe and act against all the suspicious activities that may be harmful to the reputation and overall existence of the organization. So always encourage people to prepare them to respond to suspicious activities appropriately whenever they see them happening. Develop security protocols that will help in dealing with such activities before they go out of hand.

You can safeguard your organization from phishing and whaling attacks if you create and implement effective strategies in advance. You can take heed of the suggestions laid out above to create a comprehensive firewall to block and intercept cybersecurity attacks optimally.

Most effective antivirus to thwart whaling assaults

Antivirus can be an effective tool to prevent and block whaling attacks. It plays a crucial role in enhancing your cybersecurity and detecting malicious programs trying to enter your system and database to commit data theft. There are many vendors in the market that offer excellent anti-malware solutions to preserve your security and online information. Following is a list of robust antivirus solutions that you can download and install on your system to deal with whaling attacks effectively.       


TotalAV is a rising star offering an end-to-end internet security suite for your digital devices. People working at the senior level can protect their precious data and sensitive information using this cybersecurity solution on their systems. It provides an efficient antivirus engine, anti-phishing features, network monitoring capabilities, and device control mechanisms to cover overall safety. Round-the-clock customer support is one of the best things that you get from TotalAV Customer Service. You get quick solutions to your technical queries and subscription-related issues from experts instantly.


It is known as one of the best antivirus solutions that is known for its matchless malware detection and device protection capabilities. It offers real-time scanning, phishing, and integrated firewall services that protect you from cyber threats around the clock.

Norton 360

This software is known for its comprehensive cybersecurity features. It is capable of dealing with trojans, spyware, malware, and phishing attacks thoroughly. Its VPN technology safeguards your network from malicious intrusions and hackers and keeps your data safe.

Kaspersky Total Security

This cybersecurity program can be your reliable partner for dealing with malicious attacks on the internet. It provides your antimalware safety along with features like phishing attack dispelling, firewall safety, and a virtual keyboard to keep your financial transactions secure from leakage.

McAfee Total Protection

McAfee has been rated one of the most efficient solutions against cybersecurity threats like viruses, malware, phishing attacks, and network breaches. You can secure your privacy and data with this amazing tool. It’s real-time scanning, and password manager technology makes it highly beneficial for users to deal with spyware and protect personal data effectively.


If you are a professional working on an executable level in an organization then you need to keep yourself ready to deal with the potential online threats. You should have a complete plan and back to stay one step ahead of the black hats. You can pick up a robust and reliable antivirus solution to protect your devices and sensitive data from malware, phishing, ransomware, and spyware lurking in the dark. You can choose from any of the above options or talk to a professional to help you choose robust cybersecurity software to upgrade your defense.

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