On February 2016, an apparently politically-motivated hacker accessed the personal information of 20,000 FBI employees and 9,000 Department of Homeland Security employees in a phishing attack. Nobody is immune from the phishing epidemic, and as it relies on human fallibility as much as technical wizardry, there’s no reason to believe it’s a problem that will go away. So what does phishing involve? And how can we defend ourselves?
‘Phishing’ is a method of fraud that involves tricking the victim into volunteering information such as account names and passwords to their online accounts – be they email, social, or banking accounts. Usually, phishing takes the form of a spoof email or website to which the victim unwittingly submits their log-in details. Money or data is then illegally extracted – but insurance companies are unwilling to stump up when the leak can be traced to a mistake made by the victim themselves.