Buyer Beware: FBI issues warning on "spear phishing"

As if it wasn't enough to worry about plain old phishing scams, the FBI today issued a warning about a more malicious type called spear phishing.

This type of scheme is not new, but the FBI warns it is on the rise. Spear phishing differs from regular phishing in its approach. Rather than use a massive email blast, spear phishing attacks choose smaller, selected groups that share something in common. That could be anything from a workplace, to a bank to a website everyone purchased from.

Using emails that simulate authentic ones, the spear phishers -- as is the case in regular phishing attacks -- concoct a plausible reason why you need to urgently provide personal information. Using links in the email, you are then guided to look-a-like, phony sites where you are asked for personal and financial information. Because the spear phishing attacks are more targeted, they also can be more insightful and offer more compelling reasons to be lured in.