Difference Between Phishing and Vishing

Difference Between Phishing and Vishing

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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Jan 31, 2023 17:40 IST

The article talks about phishing and vishing, the difference between phishing and vishing, and ways to deal with both issues.


Both phishing and vishing aim to obtain sensitive user information that could be used for identity theft, financial gain, or account hacking. 


  • Phishing vs Vishing – Comparative Table
  • What is Phishing?
  • Ways to Prevent Phishing
  • What is Vishing?
  • Example of Vishing
  • A Victim of Vishing? What to Do Next?
  • What is the Difference between Vishing and Phishing?

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Phishing vs Vishing – Comparative Table

The main difference between phishing and vishing is the means used to identify potential victims. While phishing is primarily an email-based attack, vishing uses voice, typically through calls to a user’s mobile.

Phishing Vishing
Accomplished through sending bulk emails. Done through voice communication.
Requires the recipients to click on the given link. Call recipients must share the information themselves over a phone call.
Automatic attack. Manual attack.
Phishers send various emails at a time. The voice attack is made by the vishers just once, usually.
More precise. Less precise.
Very frequent. Vishing was a frequent way to do fraud earlier, but increasing cybersecurity awareness among people has led to fewer vishing calls these days.
Assaulters who hack information using phishing are mainly professional hackers. Vishers do not need to be professionals to commit fraud.
Some of examples of phishing are sphere phishing, clone phishing, whaling, etc. Examples of vishing are calls from people pretending to be government officials, tech support professionals, bank employees, etc. 

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Let us learn more about these two methods of cyber fraud.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is an attempt by an unauthorized party to trick you into revealing personal information. This usually happens when you receive an email that looks legitimate but contains links or attachments that direct you to a fraudulent website designed to steal your personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. 

About 25% of data breaches involve phishing, and 82% have a human component, according to Verizon’s 2022 DBIR.

Phishing emails may look like official messages from banks, online shopping sites, or other trusted companies, asking you to update personal information, such as account usernames, passwords, or security questions. Therefore, it is important to double-check the links contained in these emails before clicking on them.

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Ways to Prevent Phishing

Phishing attacks can be very convincing. They often come from official email addresses, contain familiar logos and images, and even sound real. To avoid falling for these tactics:

  • Only open attachments or click email links if you know who sent them.
  • Regularly check your credit card statements to ensure everything seems in order. If you see anything suspicious, contact your bank immediately.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi in cafes or hotels because hackers can access your data on the same network.
  • Check for any spelling, grammar, and formatting errors in emails or wrong logos.

(Our cybersecurity team shared the above poll to check the employees’ awareness. Note that both images have spelling errors. Those who paid attention to the spelling error did not vote, while who did, were nominated to take up an anti-phishing course to learn more about the concept.)

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What is Vishing?

Vishing is a type of social engineering scam in which, through a call, the identity of a trusted organization or person is impersonated. The objective is to steal personal and sensitive information from the victim. The term combines the terms voice and phishing.

The modus operandi cybercriminals use to perform vishing can be divided into two. 

  1. They obtain confidential information about the victim (first and last name, email, some credit card information, etc.). 
  2. Once this information is obtained, they make a phone call posing as a bank, a courier company, or a technical service to use the above information and for their victim to trust them. 

After that, they try to obtain more information, get the user to install some malware on their computer, or make some payment.

Example of Vishing 

Call from someone identifying themselves as a bank employee. Normally, cybercriminals call to inform the client that a fraudulent operation is being carried out with their card or another incident of a serious nature. To solve it, they request the card details or a unique password received by SMS. 

With this data, they can make purchases or transfers to another account. Sometimes they provide certain account details to build trust. Therefore, the unique key should never be provided, as it is a piece of information that the bank never requests.

An example of one of the common scams that you may come across can be –

Visher – Hello, good afternoon, sir. Are you ABC?

You – Yes, it’s me.

Visher – I am calling from SBI in relation to your last invoice. There seems to be an error because a part should have been deducted. For your convenience, we will refund this proportional part to your bank account, for which I need you to validate your bank details. I also need the CVV, which is mentioned on the back of your card.

You – Of course, very good. My details are as follows…

There, your account is about to be emptied!

Therefore, the main recommendation is never to provide bank details.

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A Victim of Vishing? What to Do Next?

If you suspect that you have been a victim of this fraud, do the following:

  • Scan your device with an updated antivirus.
  • Delete any file that you have downloaded from the mail.
  • Block the number that has contacted you.
  • Change the passwords of those accounts that may have been violated.
  • Turn on two-step verification for accounts that allow it to prevent spoofing.
  • Contact the bank to cancel any unauthorized payment or cancel your card if necessary.
  • Collect all possible evidence and report it to the state security forces or any recognized cybersecurity body.

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What is the Difference between Vishing and Phishing?

Both vishers and phishers send messages to their potential victims, typically in bulk. Phishing attackers send many email messages to a list of potential targets. If the attacker targets a specific organization, they may only use a list of email addresses of highly privileged users from the target company. 

Phishers often use urgent email messages to convince users to reply with sensitive information or to click on a link hosted by the malware. Malicious attachments are also used in some phishing attacks.

The visher could send out text messages to potential victims en masse, based on a long list of phone numbers. The message could ask users to make a phone call to the attacker’s phone number. Another method of vishing is creating an automated message and dialing the phone number of potential victims. 

Vishers use computer-generated voice messages to remove any accents and build trust. The voice message then tricks the user into connecting to a human agent who continues the scam, or it could prompt the user to open a web page controlled by the attacker.

While the two have minor differences, the end goal is always the same: getting credentials, personally identifiable data, and financial information. 

About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio