Define Phishing: A Good First Step

Why do you need to define phishing? By defining it and learning as much as you can about this scam, you will know what to look out for when online. The definition of phishing is: Phishing is a way criminals will attempt to gain access to an individual’s personal details by masquerading as a trusted source. The most common place to find a phishing scam is in your email inbox (or junk folder).

The Oxford English Dictionary did define phishing in 1996. The term was first used in January of that year to describe the act of hackers stealing Internet accounts. It has become far more sophisticated from the early days of horribly written emails that basically asked for your information.

So, how does phishing work today? Phishers create near perfect replicas of respected websites that they try to send unsuspecting people to. The trick is to getting people to the bogus site. Usually, the thieves send out emails that are almost identical to an email you would receive from the legitimate company. The link provided in the message will bring you to the replica site, where you are asked to fill in certain personal information. Once the information is entered, the site will most often “crash” with the bad guy very happy.

There are endless examples of phishing scams that thieves have implemented over the past decade. Most recently, the crooks have been using fake correspondences from government agencies, such as the FBI, as a way to steal personal information.

I know that personally, my email’s junk box gets filled daily with stereotypical scams, that define phishing, with subject lines of: IRS rebate of $10,000 is yours, FBI needs your help, You’ve won $14 Million Euros!, Your ancestors left you money!, Your email is lottery winner- $4.2M!, and many more.

I would tell you what the emails actually said, but I don’t open them. This is the key! Never open any email from anyone you don’t know. Thieves and messed-up hackers alike enjoy attaching viruses to emails that may end up providing them your personal information through a keystroke reading program.

You should be able to answer the question, “what is phishing” now, which is a great first step to staying safe while online. Remember, never open any email messages if you don’t know the sender. Also, always use common sense when online and never click on anything before you think! These tips will help you, I promise!

Return from Define Phishing to Home