Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


The illegal practice of attempting to steal an identity by setting up a website and encouraging people to input credit card or other personal information. Phishing often purports to present a legitimate web business and asks the "customer" to give personal information in order to receive fictitious products. Alternatively, phishing may involve a criminal sending out e-mail purporting to be from a bank or credit card company asking for information as part of an "urgent" request. Phishers then steal the identity directly or sell to another party for illegal purposes.


Phishing is one way that identity thieves use the Internet to retrieve your personal information, such as passwords and account numbers.

The thieves' techniques include sending hoax emails claiming to originate from legitimate businesses and establishing phony websites designed to capture your personal information.

For example, you may receive an urgent email claiming to come from your bank and directing you to a website where you're asked to update or verify your account number or password. By responding you give identity thieves an opportunity to steal your confidential information.

Phishing is difficult to detect because the fraudulent emails and websites are often indistinguishable from legitimate ones and the perpetrators change identities regularly.

Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
CYREN Phishing Intelligence consistently demonstrates unsurpassed performance; detecting new attacks faster than others, and providing unique detection of many attacks.
1 A phishing wildcard is a set of symbols describing a group of links detected by the system as phishing links.
For example, about 60 per cent of all phishing attacks using fake bank pages exploited the names of just 25 organisations.
8220;The best way to protect people against phishing is to enable humans to distinguish legitimate entities from fraudulent ones, regardless of how the phishing solicitation reaches them, or what technologies are utilized behind the scenes.
Their spamming and other activities to target victims continues at high levels, implying they are finding malware distribution a more effective and profitable tactic than traditional phishing," he said.
During the last year there have also been confirmed reports of two large-scale phishing attacks on the well known facebook.
The new phishing filter, which will require Windows XP SP2, will be available shortly in a beta version.
Phishing is the newest scam to hit the identity theft arena and is becoming what Microsoft Corp.
According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group 176 unique new phishing attacks were reported in January 2004.
The FSTC project comes as APWG notes the average monthly growth rate in phishing attacks to be as high as 50 percent, with close to 2,000 attacks in July alone.
Enterprises will be able to reduce phishing attacks on their brand and the amount of false positives in their filters.