Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » P »

phishing

(fish´ing) (n.) The act of sending an email to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.

Phishing email will typically direct the user to visit a website where they are asked to update personal information, such as a password, credit card, social security, or bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The website, however, is bogus and will capture and steal any information the user enters on the page.

Examples of Phishing Scams

2003 saw the proliferation of a phishing scam in which users received emails supposedly from eBay claiming that the user's account was about to be suspended unless he clicked on the provided email link and updated the credit card information that the genuine eBay already had. Because it is relatively simple to make a website look like a legitimate organization's site by mimicking the HTML code, the scam counted on people being tricked into thinking they were actually being contacted by eBay and were subsequently going to eBay's site to update their account information.

Why is Phishing Successful for Scammers?

Phishing emails are blindly sent to thousands, if not millions of recipients. By spamming large groups of people, the "phisher" counts on the email being read by a percentage of people who actually have an account with the legitimate company being spoofed in the email and corresponding webpage.

Phishing, also referred to as brand spoofing or carding, is a variation on "fishing," the idea being that bait is thrown out with the hopes that while most will ignore the bait, some will be tempted into biting.

Other forms: phish (v.)

 







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
DID YOU KNOW?
Small Business Marketing's Greatest Hits

The following compilation of small business marketing tips highlights some of the expert advice published over at Small Business Computing. Read More »

Taking Ownership through Digital Governance

Taking ownership of our own misjudgments or simple forgetfulness takes a healthy amount of humility and some honest self-assessment. Yet sometimes... Read More »

Have We Become a World of Addicts?

It's hard to imagine our lives without smartphones. But people who suffer separation anxiety when they don't have their phones nearby may be in... Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
5 Best Cloud Storage Services

With cost and security in mind, we look at five cloud storage options that will suit the needs of most home and SMB owners. Read More »

Windows 10 Tips for Desktop PC

Five basic tips to help you customize Windows 10 on your desktop PC. Read More »

29 Free Android Apps for Cash-Strapped Students

From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »