A-Z Glossary of Information Security and Social Engineering Terms

Phishing

Phishing

A social engineering technique in which the attacker masquerades as a legitimate website or communication in order to acquire sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card information. Phishing messages can arrive via email, SMS, tweets, instant messages, QR codes, or social media status updates. Phishing emails are also used as a delivery method for ransomware that exhorts users to click on an attachment or URL where malicious code encrypts their files in a matter of seconds. There are a number of techniques which can be used to help identify whether a suspicious email is a phishing attempt, such as examining the email headers, but there is no silver bullet. One of the safest ways to check the authenticity of a suspicious email is to contact the sender by phoning them – an old-fashioned solution to a modern problem.

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