phishing

noun
phish·​ing | \ ˈfi-shiŋ How to pronounce phishing (audio) \

Definition of phishing

: a scam by which an Internet user is duped (as by a deceptive e-mail message) into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly

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Other Words from phishing

phisher \ ˈfi-​shər How to pronounce phisher (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Phishing is one of the many new computer-related terms that have found their way into the general lexicon over the past decade or so. Its "ph" spelling is influenced by an earlier word for an illicit act: "phreaking." Phreaking involves fraudulently using an electronic device to avoid paying for telephone calls, and its name is suspected of being a shortening of "phone freak." A common phishing scam involves sending e-mails that appear to come from banks requesting recipients to verify their accounts by typing personal details, such as credit card information, into a Web site that has been disguised to look like the real thing. Such scams can be thought of as "fishing" for naive recipients.

Examples of phishing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The most effective method was to send an email with a phishing link. Brooke Crothers, Fox News, "Hackers are going after your online bank account, report says," 19 Apr. 2018 Everyone here at Hudson has been trained to be on the lookout for spear-phishing and other attacks. Kenneth R. Weinstein, WSJ, "What It’s Like to Be a ‘Fancy Bear’ Target," 21 Aug. 2018 Known to security researchers as the Carbanak group, the group used social engineering and phishing attacks to infiltrate businesses and steal financial data. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Ukrainian hackers arrested for stealing 15 million credit card records," 1 Aug. 2018 Even other cyber security firms like Crowdstrike and Verisign rely on Agari’s tools to block phishing. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Goldman Sachs Leads $40 Million Investment in Anti-Phishing Firm Agari," 21 June 2018 And on top of that, attackers have long shown their willingness to exploit customization and automation features in Excel—and other Microsoft Office programs—to create malicious files for phishing and other attacks. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Microsoft's Latest Excel Update Has Security Pros Anxious," 11 May 2018 The other danger to signing on to everything with Facebook is the threat of phishing. Farhad Manjoo, The Seattle Times, "Why you shouldn’t use Facebook to log in to other sites and apps," 2 Oct. 2018 The phishing campaign reported by Certfa was effective for other reasons besides its bypass of 2fa. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Iranian phishers bypass 2fa protections offered by Yahoo Mail and Gmail," 13 Dec. 2018 The sites appeared to be the early stages of an effort to launch a phishing campaign against the U.S. Senate and conservative-leaning think tanks, Microsoft said. Dustin Volz, WSJ, "DNC Says Reported Hack Attempt Was a False Alarm," 23 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phishing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of phishing

1996, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phishing

alteration (influenced by phreaking) of fishing

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Dictionary Entries near phishing

phimotic

Phiomia

phi phenomenon

phishing

Phi Tong Luang

phiz

phleb-

Statistics for phishing

Last Updated

6 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for phishing

The first known use of phishing was in 1996

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More Definitions for phishing

phishing

noun
phish·​ing | \ ˈfi-shiŋ How to pronounce phishing (audio) \

Legal Definition of phishing

: a fraudulent operation by which an e-mail user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information which can be used for illicit purposes (as identity theft)

History and Etymology for phishing

alteration of fishing (probably influenced by phreaking illegal access to a phone system)

More from Merriam-Webster on phishing

Nglish: Translation of phishing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about phishing

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using a distributed computer network

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