What Is Spoofing?

Spoofing is a cyberattack that disguises malicious communication as a message originating from a legitimate source. Threat actors execute this technique by impersonating a real user to assume authority and gain privileged access to critical business data. Spoofers rely on two significant elements: the spoof itself and social engineering

A spoof could be an email or text message that appears to originate from a trusted source with authority, such as a corporate executive. Similarly, social engineering misleads victims into interacting with a malicious artifact like a phishing URL or a poisoned download.    

How Spoofing Works

Threat actors primarily use email spoofing to access targets’ information. Usually, the content in spoofing emails communicates a sense of urgency or messaging that taps into the target’s greed or fear.

Spoofing Examples

Example 1

Imagine getting an urgent email from your company’s CEO asking you to remove a social media post because it’s damaging the business’s reputation. Your initial instinct is to click on the link and view the post. But, unfortunately, your click takes you to a rogue website that steals your information.

Example 2

Attackers spoof a domain by registering a domain name similar to your company’s, such as 1earn.g5.com—a domain that resembles the legitimate learn.g5.com but with the letter l replaced with the number 1.

Example 3

Telephone impersonation is also a form of spoofing: A caller on the other end fraudulently presents themselves as a bank representative and requests your account or credit card information. Spoofers can use software to mimic caller IDs to make their bogus calls seem more credible, a practice known as phone number spoofing.

Types of Spoofing Attacks


Email is a primary vector of attack for threat actors. In email spoofing, threat actors forge email headers to change the origin of an email message. Forging an email header tricks the target into thinking that an email message originated from trusted vendors or clients. Some of the most successful email spoofing attacks incorporate attack tactics and techniques from business email compromise and man-in-the-middle attacks to gain persistence and evade detection.


In IP spoofing, the attacker sends IP packets with a fake source address. This way, the hacker hides their real identity and pretends to be another computer. IP spoofing is frequently used to launch DDoS attacks.


DNS spoofing, also known as “cache poisoning,” is an attack in which DNS records are changed to redirect traffic to a bogus website that appears to be the intended destination.


Also known as ARP poisoning, Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) spoofing intercepts data traffic. An ARP spoofing attack fools one device into delivering signals to the threat actor rather than to a legitimate user.

How to Prevent Spoofing Attacks

Attacks using spoofing software can have devastating effects on business continuity. The following techniques and best practices are effective for protecting corporate infrastructures from spoofing incidents.

Build a Healthy Cybersecurity Culture

Fostering a healthy cybersecurity culture within a corporate environment is one of the most effective ways to tackle cybersecurity challenges. IT security teams can develop robust security awareness programs to educate users about the detective, preventive, and corrective countermeasures to deploy against threat actor tactics, including spoofing. For consistent effectiveness, security awareness training must be ongoing and in alignment with the evolving cyber threat landscape. 

Use Deep Packet Inspection and Packet Filtering

IP packets are analyzed via packet filtering, and those with source information conflicts are blocked. This is an intelligent approach to eliminate faked IP packets since hostile packets (despite their headers claim) will arrive outside the network. In addition, most packet-filtering systems include a DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) function since attackers have strategies for getting around basic packet filters. With the help of DPI, you can create rules that consider both the header and the content of network packets, which lets you block many different types of IP spoofing attacks.

Identify and Verify Users and Systems

IP spoofing is a technique that can circumvent authentication controls if machines on a network solely utilize IP addresses for identification. Instead, IT teams should leverage automated security mechanisms to deploy authentication processes like mutual certificate authentication, IPSec, and domain authentication to authenticate connections between users and systems. 

Use Authenticated and Encrypted Protocols

Security specialists have created several secure communication protocols, including Secure Shell, Internet Protocol Security, and Transport Layer Security (TLS), which are used by HTTPS and FTPS (SSH). When correctly implemented, these protocols verify the application or device you’re connected to and encrypt data in transit, decreasing the probability that a spoofing attack will be successful.