Definition: Phishing

Phishing is a type of scam through digital communication in order to obtain personal information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, or other confidential information.

Phishing scammers typically use emails, text messages, and instant messages to lead targets to a fake website that looks legitimate and have them fill in their personal information.


Why is it called Phishing?

The first time the word “phishing” was used and recorded was around 1996 when hackers were stealing accounts and passwords from America Online. These hackers used email lures and “fished” for passwords and financial information from internet users.

The reason that the “ph” was used instead of the “f” in the spelling of the word is that some of the earliest hackers were known as “phreaks”, meaning the exploration, experimentation, and study of the telecommunication systems. The “ph” spelling was used because the phishing scams relate to these hacker communities.


What are the most common Phishing attacks and how to protect against them?

Email Phishing

Email Phishing is one of the most common Phishing types that attacks anyone from executives to internet users at home. Anyone who opens an unknown email is at risk of being scammed. In order to differentiate a real email from a phishing scam, internet users need to be sceptical and be educated on the information of the brand or the company of the sender.

Before clicking on anything in the email, make sure to check the legitimacy of the sender’s email address, logo, URL, and anything in the message that seems remotely sketchy.


Cloud Storage Phishing

Cloud services from Amazon, Google, and Dropbox have become the target of phishing scammers. These scammers steal users’ personal data by sending victims files that require them to log in to their cloud accounts.

In order to protect yourself from these scammers, you need to be watchful when a file comes through.


Mobile Phishing

This is a type of phishing where scammers attack victims through mobile applications on their smartphones. When users download scammed applications, they will be tricked into entering their personal data.

In order to protect yourself from these scams, make sure to read the app reviews before downloading, set high security setting on your mobile phone, and use a reliable mobile security tool.



Phishing Definition

Glossary Index

About Tiffany Liem

Tiffany Liem is a digital marketing specialist who creates effective digital marketing strategies that help businesses find new customers. She graduated from Southern Methodist University with an MS in Management and BBA in Marketing.