Phishing

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You may have seen the phrase 'phishing' and wondered what it was all about.

Wikipedia describes it thus

Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

And below is an actual phishing e-mail I received, purporting to be from National Westminster Bank. What it wants me to do is click on a link to take me to a phoney Nat West site and for me to enter my login details. These details are captured by the bad guys who will then log in to my electronic banking and, probably, empty my account.

Fortunately there are many things wrong with this that show it is phoney:

  1. I don't bank with National Westminster.
  2. It was sent to an email address that I would not use for banking.
  3. Microsoft Outlook identified this as probable Junk E-mail and disabled the clickable link.
  4. Because the link was disabled, I can see that the link would take me to some site that is most definitely NOT National Westminster
  5. The title 'Happy Banking Message' is quite unprofessional, as is the language of the message itself.
  6. Banks just do not send out these kind of emails.

phishing

So, if you should ever receive an email like this don't waste any time worrying about it (you're not being personally targeted, the phishers sent out millions of these messages) just DELETE it and forget it.

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