News & Insights

What is the difference between Phishing and Blagging?

4 October 2022Cyber Awareness, Cyber Essentials, IASME Cyber Assurance
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What is the difference between Phishing and Blagging?

To understand the difference between Phishing and Blagging, lets discuss what each of the terms mean first and how they are used by attackers.


Phishing is a technique of fraudulently obtaining private information, often using email, SMS or social media. The message is designed to look as if it has come from a trustworthy source i.e., your bank or similar. The message incudes links, which when clicked will entice the victim in to revealing personal information or install malicious code on the victim’s device. Fourtify have provided an example of Phishing below:

‘Dear Sir/Madam,

 We have recently detected unusual activity on your bank card and have locked your account to protect you.

 If this was you, please click this link to unlock your account…’



Blagging is a term used for a malicious actor who collects and utilises someone else’s personal information without their consent.  Fourtify have provided an example of blagging below:

‘A blagger obtains a copy of your name and picture from Facebook then uses those to create an account. The blagger then poses as you and tricks your contacts into donating to a fake charitable cause – but in fact keeps the money for themselves.’


Referred to as Social Engineering, both Phishing and Blagging enable a malicious actor to obtain data either directly through or as ‘you’ through social channels.


How is Phishing and Blagging used?

Phishing is usually targeted at a broad number of targets hence the name. The attacker will target thousands of victims in the hope that one takes the ‘bait’.

Blagging is very targeted to one individual. Usually, the target has been specifically selected as the attacker has an interest in you or your business. Often this is more damaging as the attacker has spent time creating their attack to appear as you.


How to spot Phishing and Blagging?

There are some common indicators for each attack which you should be aware of, listed below:


  • Any unexpected message with a request for information
  • Obvious errors — Sender email addresses that contain spelling errors, lots of random numbers and letters, and/or domain names that you don’t recognise
  • Suspicious hyperlinks:
    • Text that appears to be hyperlinked but does not contain a link
    • Text that is hyperlinked to a web address that contains spelling errors and/or lots of random numbers and letters
    • Text that is hyperlinked to a domain name that you don’t recognise and/or isn’t connected to the sender of the message
  • Generic messages that don’t address you by name or contain any personal information that you would expect the sender to know


  • Suspicious code in email (“Dear <name?>”)
  • Unusual use of language (“an excitable business opportunity”)
  • Spelling mistakes (“relese“)
  • An attempt to start a conversation (“I look forward to hearing from you”)


How can I protect my business?

There are several options available to you to protect your organisation. Firstly, correctly implementing DMARC. DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance. It is an email security protocol. DMARC verifies email senders by building on the Domain Name System (DNS), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) protocols. Correctly configuring this will limit attackers attempts when spoofing recognised domain names.

If you’re unsure whether you have correctly implemented DMARC and SPF protocols, the National Cyber Security Council (NCSC) have a useful tool you can use to check your organisations implementation here.

E-mail Security is another key layer of protection. Speak to the Fourtify team regarding Sophos E-mail Security today. Sophos E-mail Security processes millions of e-mails to stay ahead of the latest attacks. With Sophos Email Security and Sophos Phish Threat, you can easily protect your organization against both the known and the unknown.

Cyber Protection doesn’t just stop at E-mail Security – although this is a huge attack vector. All organisations should strongly be implementing Cyber Essentials and IASME Cyber Assurance to ensure they’re laying strong foundations to protect your business from an estimated 90% of internet based threats.

If you’re concerned about any malicious activity within your organisation or would like to discuss how you can enhance your protection against Cyber Threats, get in touch with the team today: