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Phishing is an electronic attack that occurs when a user opens a fraudulent email or instant message that is designed to gain access to his or her personal or financial information. The attackers typically aim to steal the user’s password, credentials or money.

Phishing emails are often sent from fake websites and use social engineering tactics to trick users into divulging sensitive information. A successful phishing attack can lead to the installation of malware, freezing of a system, or even identity theft.

In order to prevent a phishing attack, be aware of the warning signs. If you receive a suspicious email, take the time to read it. Make sure it’s from a known contact and that it contains no obvious errors. Also, be careful of any request for you to change your password, make a purchase or fill out a survey.

A phishing attack can also come in the form of a malicious text message. These messages usually contain links that will send the victim to a spoof website. Once the victim clicks on the link, they are sent to the site and are given the option to enter their password.

Social networks are a popular source of information for phishing attacks. These sites allow attackers to gather names, job titles, and more. This information is then used to craft a believable email.

Many phishing schemes have become more sophisticated. Often, the malicious email or website is a copy of an official company or government site. It may contain a fake logo or official voice.