What is “phishing?”

Internet phishing is a common practice used by hackers to get information from people, account passwords being the most commonly sought-after information. Fake links are sent via emails, asking for information such as usernames and passwords to accounts that a person regularly uses. These emails look legitimate and therefore, trick a lot of people into giving up information that they otherwise would not give out.

What information do hackers want?

Hackers want any information they can get from you. Social security number, account usernames, account passwords, home address, full name, telephone number, email address, etc. Any information gets them one step closer to accessing your accounts and the rest of your information.

How do I protect myself?

The best way to protect yourself is to be cautious of the information given out and aware of common methods used by hackers. If an email is received requesting information, double check the original sender and whether the links go to a trusted source. Keep in mind that most trustworthy organizations are not going to ask for information in an email. For example, your bank would call or request information in person, and not in an email. Hackers commonly use threats in their emails, too such as “If your password isn’t updated, you could be locked out of your account.” This tactic is used to scare people into giving up information.