Part of the Internet acronyms and lingo glossary:

A phishing kit is a collection of tools assembled to make it easier for people with little technical skill to launch a phishing exploit . Phishing is a type of Internet scam in which the perpetrator sends out spoofed e-mail that appears to come from some legitimate source, in an effort to gather useful data, such as credit card information, PIN s, and passwords. According to Sophos, an anti-virus company, hundreds of thousands of phishing e-mails are sent over the Internet daily.

A phishing kit typically includes Web site development software, complete with graphics, coding, and content that can be used to create convincing imitations of legitimate sites, and spamming software to automate the mass mailing process. Some also include lists of e-mail addresses. Spamming software and lists of supposedly viable e-mail addresses are sometimes offered separately as spam kits; virus kits are also easily available online.

Security experts recommend that users refrain from clicking on links in unexpected messages purporting to be from a site they have financial dealings with. If unsure whether a message is valid, users should go directly to the official site and seek information there, or contact the site's customer service department.

This was last updated in February 2009
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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