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Phishing is an attack technique used by cybercriminals to trick people into handing over sensitive information, often by impersonating a company or trusted individual. The attackers use a sense of urgency or fear to prompt the recipient into acting without fully thinking it through. They will aim to get the victim to click on a link, provide login credentials, download an attachment or enter other sensitive data into a fake website, or even install malware on the device.

The information gained through a successful phishing attack can be used to loot a victim’s bank account, run up charges on credit cards and leave them with a damaged personal or business reputation. It can take years to repair the damage.

Often, the attack is a variation of an old technique with new technologies thrown in. For example, the use of AI to mimic a person’s voice is becoming increasingly common. This is a technique known as whaling and it can be particularly effective for high level executives.

A good rule of thumb is to only trust emails or calls from a known contact. Also, consider the quality of the language in an email. If it contains typos or illogical grammar, it is likely a phishing attempt.