Computer Crime Research Center


How to avoid phishing scams

Date: September 21, 2005

Many people enjoy fishing. It can be relaxing and peaceful and if you are really lucky there may actually be fish involved. If you have ever actually gone fishing you might appreciate one of the current Coca Cola radio commercials where they point out that there is a significant difference between "fishing" and "catching". Anyone can fish, but catching takes skill.

Fishing of a different sort has become a serious security threat. Dubbed "phishing", it involves luring unsuspecting users to take the cyber-bait much the same way fishing involves luring a fish to bite the bait.

Douglas Schweitzer, author of Incident Response, describes phishing scams like this: "Phishing attacks use “spoofed” e-mails and fraudulent websites with the attempt to trick unsuspecting Internet users into divulging confidential personal information such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords, social security numbers, etc. By hijacking the trusted brands of well-known institutions, phishers are able to convince a small percentage of recipients to respond to them."
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