The act of acquiring private or sensitive data from personal computers for use in fraudulent activities. Phishing is usually done by sending emails that seem to appear to come from credible sources (however, they are in no way affiliated with the actual source/company), which require users to put in personal data such as a credit card number or social security number. This information is then transmitted to the hacker and utilized to commit acts of fraud. Some of the criminals behind phishing scams have even gone so far as to create websites that appear to be operated by government agencies. Many virus programs and email providers have developed software in attempt to combat the problem.

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