The main difference between spam and phishing is that spam is an unwanted, unnecessary message sent over the WWW while phasing is an attempt of attackers to obtain user’s credentials for malicious activity by appearing as trusty entities.
World Wide Web (WWW) connects millions and millions of users. They can access information within few seconds by connecting to this massive network. However, certain security threats have emerged with the rapid development of technology. Spam and phishing are two of them. Spam refers to an unsolicited message while phishing is the process of appearing as legal organizations to obtain users sensitive details.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Spam
– Definition, Functionality
2. What is Phishing
– Definition, Functionality
3. What is the Relationship Between Spam and Phishing
– Outline of Association
4. What is the Difference Between Spam and Phishing
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is Spam
Spam is an unnecessary message sent via WWW. The most common spam type is email spam. Most spam messages consist of links to phishing websites or websites that host malware. Moreover, they can include malware as scripts or another type of executable file attachments. Furthermore, they take a lot of network bandwidth.
Spammers collect email addresses from websites, customer lists, chat rooms and newsgroups. They sometimes sell those collected email addresses to other spammers. Most online services are instituting policies to prevent spammers from spamming their subscribers. Even though a lot of countries pass laws to outlaw spam, they are increasing rapidly as it is difficult to catch spammers.
What is Phishing
Phishing refers to a threat where unauthorized parties try to obtain confidential information such as username, password, credit card information of the users. These parties distinguish themselves as trustworthy parties to obtain users information.
Users can perform online transactions via WWW easily and faster. However, online business transactions are reliable as long as the user communicates with trusty organizations. The attackers can mislead the users by appearing as trusty entities. Therefore, the users will enter their sensitive information such as PIN numbers, passwords and account numbers assuming that they are communicating with the correct organizations.
For example, the user might receive an email from his bank with a link to click. Thus, the user clicks on that link, and it goes to a separate page which asks the user to enter his account number, password, etc. Likewise, the attackers can obtain the details of the user. Even though the user assumed that the email is from the bank, it is from an attacker or an unauthorized party. The attacker uses the same company logos, fonts, etc. as the original organization to trick the users.
There are few steps to prevent phishing. If an email leads to a website, it is necessary to check the web address. Moreover, he can install anti-phishing software to check online accounts and credit reports on a regular basis.
Relationship Between Spam and Phishing
- Most spam messages contain links that lead to phishing websites.
Difference Between Spam and Phishing
Spam refers to unrequested and unwanted messages in bulk. In contrast, phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information of a user for malicious reasons by disguising as a trustworthy entity in electronic communication. These definitions give us an idea about the difference between spam and phishing.
Thus said, the main difference between spam and phishing is that the spam is used for advertising, phishing and spreading malware whereas phishing is used to get confidential details of the users.
Moreover, spammers collect email addresses from websites, customer lists, chat rooms and newsgroups to send spams. They also sell the addresses to other spammers. In phishing, the attackers send a genuine looking email to the user to mislead him to enter his details. Hence, this is also an important difference between spam and phishing.
The user can use an alternative email address, should not click on the links of the unknown emails, review privacy terms before registering on websites, should not open the attachments in unknown emails to avoid spam. The user can install an anti-phishing software to prevent phishing.
In brief, spam can lead to greater security threats such as phishing. The difference between spam and phishing is that spam is an unwanted, unnecessary message sent over the WWW while phasing is an attempt of attackers to obtain user’s credentials for malicious activity by appearing as trusty entities.
1. “What Is Spam? – Definition from Techopedia.” Techopedia.com, Available here.
2. “Email Spam.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Oct. 2018, Available here.
3. “What Is Phishing?”, Safety in Canada, 3 Feb. 2014, Available here.