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Phishing is an attack used by criminals to steal personal and financial information such as passwords, account numbers, Social Security numbers, etc. This information can then be used to access your email, bank accounts and credit cards.

Phishers use many techniques to trick victims into handing over information. One common tactic is to create urgency by claiming that an important account will be deactivated unless the victim acts immediately. This can be done by claiming that your bank account is suspended or funds are on hold, for example. In these cases, the attacker will typically request the victim log in to their bank account using a malicious link. This will then redirect the victim to a fake website that is designed to look like the official bank website so that the login details entered look legitimate.

Another common technique is to impersonate a well-known service that people use such as Amazon, Netflix or a financial institution. For example, an attacker may claim that there has been suspicious international activity on the victim’s account and require them to click a link in order to review the situation. This is known as whaling and can be particularly effective against senior executives, who are often targeted with phishing emails that appear to be from the CEO or CFO.

Attackers are constantly coming up with new ways to try and trick you into clicking on a malicious link or opening a file attachment. However, there are several cybersecurity measures that you can take to protect yourself from phishing. One of the most important is to change your passwords regularly, as this reduces an attacker’s window of opportunity. Another is to install a firewall, as it blocks outgoing data that could be sent to an attacker and logs any malicious outbound requests.