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Communications purporting to be from social web sites, auction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators are often used to lure victims.
Phishing emails may contain links to websites that are infected with malware.
Some phishing scams use Java Script commands in order to alter the address bar.
These types of attacks (known as cross-site scripting) are particularly problematic, because they direct the user to sign in at their bank or service's own web page, where everything from the web address to the security certificates appears correct.
The word is a neologism created as a homophone of fishing due to the similarity of using a bait in an attempt to catch a victim.
Whaling phishers have also forged official-looking FBI subpoena emails, and claimed that the manager needs to click a link and install special software to view the subpoena., it appears as though the URL will take you to the example section of the yourbank website; actually this URL points to the "yourbank" (i.e. Another common trick is to make the displayed text for a link (the text between the tags) suggest a reliable destination, when the link actually goes to the phishers' site.
Many desktop email clients and web browsers will show a link's target URL in the status bar while hovering the mouse over it.
An example of a phishing email, disguised as an official email from a (fictional) bank.
The sender is attempting to trick the recipient into revealing confidential information by "confirming" it at the phisher's website.