Whaling

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What Does Whaling Mean?

Whaling is a specific kind of malicious hacking within the more general category of phishing, which involves hunting for data that can be used by the hacker. In general, phishing efforts are focused on collecting personal data about users. In whaling, the targets are high-ranking bankers, executives or others in powerful positions or job titles.

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Techopedia Explains Whaling

Hackers who engage in whaling often describe these efforts as "reeling in a big fish," applying a familiar metaphor to the process of scouring technologies for loopholes and opportunities for data theft. Those who are engaged in whaling may, for example, hack into specific networks where these powerful individuals work or store sensitive data. They may also set up keylogging or other malware on a work station associated with one of these executives. There are many ways that hackers can pursue whaling, leading C-level or top-level executives in business and government to stay vigilant about the possibility of cyber threats.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.