While some individuals may be practicing cyber safety online, phishing is still one of the most powerful and persistent forms of cyber-attack going.

Phishing is a cybercrime in which victims are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.The information is then used to access important accounts and can result in identity theft and financial loss. Phishing scams are among the most prevalent forms of cybercrime, especially in the UK. Although phishing is widespread, it is beatable. The best way to combat scams is to learn what phishing looks like, apart from ensuring you install security software.

The first phishing lawsuit was filed in 2004 against a Californian teenager who created the imitation of the website “America Online”. With this fake website, he was able to gain sensitive information from users and access the credit card details to withdraw money from their accounts. Other than email and website phishing, there’s also ‘vishing’ (voice phishing), ‘smishing’ (SMS Phishing) and several other phishing techniques cybercriminals are constantly coming up with.

While many individuals have wised up to the cruder attempt on their bank details via email, there is still an education to be had for those clicking through. People are still responding to the humble phish, and aspirant hackers are still profiting from it on a massive scale. They played off the brand equivalence of Google and, perversely, its reputation for security to try and win the trust of the journalists. They were precision instruments for a specific task.