phish v. phisher n.
The term had its coming out this week when the FBI called phishing the "hottest, and most troubling, new scam on the Internet." The name appears to have no connection to the band Phish, an FBI spokesman said.
—Andrew Shain, "Phishing to steal your information," Charlotte Observer, July 25, 2003
- If you receive an unexpected e-mail saying your account will be shut down unless you confirm your billing information, do not reply or click any links in the e-mail body.
- Before submitting financial information through a Web site, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar. It means your information is secure during transmission.
- If you are uncertain about the information, contact the company through an address or telephone number you know to be genuine.
- If you unknowingly supplied personal or financial information, contact your bank and credit card company immediately.
- Suspicious e-mail can be forwarded to email@example.com, and complaints should be filed with the state attorney general's office or through the FTC at www.ftc.gov.
—Kevin Pang, "'Phishers' widen their catch of Web identity victims," Chicago Tribune, July 29, 2003
—mk590, "AOL for free?," alt.2600, January 28, 1996
Earliest Media Citation:
The message box popped up. The sender was somebody called 'VLA Carol.'
'Hi,' the message said. 'I am with the Virtual Leader Academy (VLA). Recently one of our OverHead contacts has discovered an error in the stratus system and the information is unrecoverable. Due to this fact, we will need you to reply with your current logon password so that we may update our files and make the needed changes. Thank you for your cooperation.' OverHead contacts? Stratus system? Yeah, right.
While this particular scam was pretty transparent, it was the second such solicitation I've received on AOL in as many months. ...
The scam is called 'phishing' — as in fishing for your password, but spelled differently — said Tatiana Gau, vice president of integrity assurance for the online service.
—Ed Stansel, "Don't get caught by online 'phishers' angling for account information," Florida Times-Union, March 16, 1997
Hackers have an endearing tendency to change the letter "f" to "ph," and phishing is but one example. The f-to-ph transformation is not new among hackers, either. It first appeared in the late 1960s among telephone system hackers, who called themselves phone phreaks. Here's the earliest citation of the word phreak:
Fraser begins to phreak around, as the phone phreaks say.
Ron Rosenbaum, "Secrets of the Little Blue Box," Esquire, October 1, 1971
dot con artist
fat finger dialing
targeted Trojan horse