Phishing is another term used for cyber crimes, where emails are sent to users attempting to gain their personal information. You’ve probably seen scam emails asking you to reclaim your shopping rewards, or initiate a bank transaction, or check your Apple ID logins. Those emails are clever tricks trying to get you to login with your username, passwords, credit card information, and sometimes your social security numbers.
Phishing comes from the word fishing, it is a combination of “phone phreaking” and “fishing.” According to the January 2004 edition of Computer World:
"The word phishing was coined around 1996 by hackers stealing America Online accounts and passwords. By analogy with the sport of angling, these Internet scammers were using e-mail lures, setting out hooks to "fish" for passwords and financial data from the "sea" of Internet users. They knew that although most users wouldn't take the bait, a few likely would. The term was mentioned on the alt.2600 hacker newsgroup in January 1996, but it may have been used earlier in the print journal 2600, The Hacker Quarterly.”
(Source - https://www.computerworld.com/article/2575156/security0/phishing.html)
So as you can see, it’s nothing new, but phishing techniques are becoming more sophisticated and deceitful as their emails improve - making them look more realistic and believable.
Here are some things to think about:
- Banks and the IRS won’t send you unsecured links in which to enter your personal info.
- Links may contain viruses as you click through via browsers.
- Never send personal info via email.
- Don't panic over scary notices that come via email - it could be scammers.
- Call to confirm any suspicious email notifications.