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Smishing vs. Email Phishing

April 18, 2023

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Here is what we cover in this blog post.

  • Smishing (SMS phishing) targets victims through text messages, while email phishing uses deceptive emails to exploit users.
  • Smishing often targets younger demographics who rely more on texting, whereas email phishing targets a wider age range.
  • Smishing attacks typically have higher response rates, as users view text messages as more personal and trustworthy than emails.
  • Email phishing benefits from advanced spam filters and detection tools, while SMS filtering is less developed, making smishing attacks harder to detect.
  • To protect yourself from both threats, be cautious with unsolicited messages, verify the sender, avoid clicking on links, and keep devices updated with security software.
  • Understanding the differences between smishing and email phishing can help users adopt safe practices and avoid falling victim to these cyberattacks.

As technology continues to advance and change the face of modern work, so too do the tactics employed by cybercriminals to steal personal information, gain unauthorized access to accounts, and commit fraud. Two prevalent methods used today are smishing and email phishing. While both exploit human vulnerabilities to succeed, they differ in their approach and the channels they target. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between smishing and email phishing, the dangers they pose, and how to protect yourself from these threats.


Smishing, or SMS phishing, is a form of cyberattack that leverages text messages to deceive victims into providing sensitive information or downloading malware onto their devices. Cybercriminals often create a sense of urgency in their messages, prompting users to click on malicious links, reply with personal information, or call fraudulent phone numbers.

The nature of text messages makes smishing particularly dangerous, as users often view them as more personal and trustworthy than emails. Additionally, smishing attacks can be highly targeted, and attackers may already have some information about their victims, making the messages appear more legitimate.

Email Phishing

Email phishing is a form of cyberattack that uses deceptive emails to manipulate users into revealing sensitive information, downloading malware, or performing actions that benefit the attacker. These emails often imitate trusted sources, such as banks, online retailers, or even colleagues, and attempt to create a sense of urgency that prompts users to act without questioning the legitimacy of the message.

Comparing Smishing and Email Phishing

  1. Channels of Attack: Smishing targets mobile devices through text messages, while email phishing targets victims through email. This difference in channels means that smishing is more likely to catch users off-guard, as they may not be as cautious with text messages as they are with emails.
  2. Target Demographics: Smishing often targets younger individuals who are more likely to use text messaging as their primary form of communication. In contrast, email phishing typically targets a broader range of demographics, as email is widely used across age groups.
  3. Response Rates: Smishing attacks generally have a higher response rate, as people are more likely to read and respond to text messages than emails. This makes smishing an attractive method for cybercriminals looking to maximize their success rate.
  4. Detection and Filtering: Email service providers have developed robust spam filters and phishing detection tools to protect users from malicious emails. However, SMS filtering is not as advanced, making it easier for smishing attacks to slip through the cracks and reach their intended targets.

Protecting Yourself from Smishing and Email Phishing

  1. Be cautious with unsolicited messages: Whether it's a text message or an email, always be suspicious of unsolicited messages that request personal information or urge you to take immediate action.
  2. Verify the sender: Before responding to a message or clicking on a link, confirm the sender's identity by contacting the organization directly through a verified phone number or email address.
  3. Avoid clicking on links: Rather than clicking on links in text messages or emails, type the website URL directly into your browser to ensure you are visiting a legitimate site.
  4. Keep your devices updated: Regularly update your devices and install security software to protect against malware and other threats.


Smishing and email phishing are both dangerous forms of cyberattack that seek to exploit human vulnerabilities. By understanding the differences between these two methods and adopting safe practices, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these increasingly sophisticated scams.

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