phishing | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction 

Phishing means obtaining financial or other sensitive information from online account holders by posing as a legitimate business or organization.

Phishing is a type of online scam where an individual or group of individuals will attempt to fraudulently obtain sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information, from an unsuspecting victim. This is done by posing as a trustworthy source, such as a legitimate business or organization, and tricking the victim into providing the information through an email, phone call, or other forms of communication.

Phishing attacks often use social engineering tactics, such as creating a sense of urgency or fear in the victim, in order to persuade them to take action quickly and without questioning the legitimacy of the request. For example, a phishing email may claim that the victim’s bank account has been compromised and ask them to log in to a fake website to verify their account information. The fake website will then steal the victim’s login credentials and use them to access their account and steal money or other sensitive information.

Phishing attacks can be carried out through a variety of methods, including email, phone calls, text messages, and social media. They can also be highly targeted, with attackers using personal information about the victim to create a more convincing and tailored phishing attempt.

In addition to financial theft, phishing attacks can also be used to install malware on a victim’s device or to gain access to other sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords for other accounts. These types of attacks are often referred to as “phishing with a hook” or “spear phishing.”

To protect against phishing attacks, it is important to be cautious of any unexpected or suspicious requests for information or actions, especially those that create a sense of urgency or fear. It is also important to verify the legitimacy of any requests by contacting the organization directly or by visiting their official website rather than clicking on a link in an email or other message. Installing anti-malware software and keeping it up to date can also help prevent phishing attacks. Finally, educating yourself and others about the risks and tactics of phishing attacks can help prevent falling victim to these scams.

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Last Modified: 07/25/2023

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