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Basically, phishing is an attempt to steal your personal information by sending a fake message to you. The goal is to get you to click on a link to a fake website. The site will install malware onto your computer. Often, the attacker will use this information to pilfer your bank account.

Phishing attacks are often automated and made to look like they come from a legitimate company or individual. They are usually carried out through email and malicious file attachments. These emails demand that you take immediate action, such as giving money or downloading an attachment.

While phishing attacks are typically performed through email, they can also be carried out through SMS text messages and direct messages sent over social networks. These fraudulent messages are usually designed to be convincing and to lure the victim into divulging private information.

Some phishing attacks are automated, which makes them even harder to detect. They may also be designed to appear to be coming from a familiar person. They might include links that look off, or they could contain spelling errors.

In the mid-1990s, Khan C Smith was a well-known spammer. His infamous “love bug of 2000” email message aimed to make the recipient click on a file that contained a worm. The worm overwrote the files on the victim’s computer.

In the mid-2000s, turnkey phishing software was available on the black market. Many attacks took place on social networking sites. Some were directed at PayPal customers.