What is phishing?
Phishing is an e-mail fraud method in which criminals send out legitimate-looking e-mails requesting personal and financial details from unsuspecting people. The messages seem to come from well-known and trustworthy websites. Websites that are often used in phishing attacks include eBay, PayPal, Yahoo, MSN, and America Online as well as the sites of a lot of big banks and retailers.
They’re after your identity
Typically, the fraudulent e-mails direct you to counterfeit web pages that look identical to the companies' sites in order to fool you into submitting personal or financial data and passwords. Phishing e-mails will almost always tell you to click a link that takes you to a site where your personal information is requested. Legitimate organizations would never request this sort of information via e-mail.
If you submit the information, the scammer will be able to access your account and you are a potential victim of identity theft. Your money may be transferred away into the criminal's account or used to make online purchases.
Phishing is spreading
A couple of years ago, phishers mostly targeted big American financial institutions, but nowadays phishing attacks have spread to other countries and languages as well. And they also target smaller companies. Swedish bank Nordea has suffered one of the biggest publicly known phishing frauds in history. Over 8 million kronor ($1,200,000) disappeared in three months as a result of a tailor-made attack launched by Russian criminals. Reports indicated that 250 customers had become victims.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) report that spam rose to an annual high of 33,617 messages in June 2010 compared to the previous year. Moreover, 32,279 phishing websites were detected in the same period.
Phishing is mostly associated with spam, whereby thousands of messages are sent out at once in the hope that a few people will take the bait. Therefore, phishing attempts often appear to come from sites and companies with which you do not even have an account.
The word "phishing" refers to the Internet fraudsters using email lures to "fish" for passwords and financial data from the sea of Internet users.
For more information on avoiding phishing scams, please visit this antiphishing guide.
The BullGuard Spamfilter protects you against phishing
The BullGuard Spamfilter is an effective tool for detecting phishing attempts. It analyses every email in multiple ways to determine whether it is genuine, spam or a phishing attempt. Also, thanks to collective user input, the BullGuard Spamfilter is constantly updated to block the latest known phishing emails.
When in doubt, as a BullGuard customer, you can get in touch with our Support team 24/7, free of charge. Our specialists will help you find answers to any questions related to internet security.