“Phishing” is a technique used by hackers, often using an email message, that attempts to trick you into doing something and thereby compromising your private information or gaining access to your PC.
Phishing email messages may ask you to click on a link found in the message to “login” to reset your password, or provide other personal information to verify who you are. The email message is 100% bogus and anything you provide is now in the possession of a hacker.
Phishing email messages, websites, and phone calls are ultimately designed to steal money by compromising your personal identity and security.
Again, cyberhackers often start the process by sending you an email that might have a very official looking and compelling offer, or reason to comply with the request. You might even see trademarked logos, colors, and other branding. Take the bait (click on the link or attachment) and all heck breaks loose very quickly.
See a rather clever example of a phishing email below.
How do you avoid getting snarled by phishing, malware infections, and personal identity theft?
1) Understand what phishing is.
2) Be on the lookout and always vigilant.
3) Never open email attachments from anyone you don’t know.
4) Do not act on requests received via email from people you don’t know.
5) NEVER login to ANY of your online accounts (banking, credit card, anything…) via a link in an email message.
6) If something looks suspicious proceed very carefully.
7) If the message is from a financial institution consider calling them to confirm the request. Bbut again, never click on a link in an email message that offers you a login to your account.
Learn more about phishing at Wikipedia.
Example of Phishing Email
Another Very Official Looking Email (but 100% Phishing)
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