What is Phishing? (1.5 minute read time)

Article author
Betty Fleming
  • Updated

Phishing is an attempt to gain access to accounts, personal information, or devices, to infect or steal data. It occurs by luring users to click on a link and directly provide personal information or open a document infected with malware.

Everyone has been told to be careful about clicking on suspicious links in an email. However, phishing happens in almost every way we use technology. You can be phished via text message, on a social media post, or even through a phone call or snail mail.


Phishing usually involves a combination of psychology- creating a need for immediate action- with legitimacy appearing to coming from a trusted source.


Because of its low cost and barrier of entry, phishing remains the most common way bad actors try to harm. Typically, bad actors and cybercriminals seeking to steal your credit card, bank information, or your personal information.


While the techniques used to phish people on campaigns may be the same, the motives for phishing a campaign could be different.

They are looking to harm the campaign by:

  • Gaining account access to steal and expose confidential information and data to expose information embarrassing to the campaign or steal personal information on supporters and voters.
  • Stealing login credentials to compromise social media, the campaign website, and other accounts.
  • Gaining access to email accounts so they can send phishing emails to other people on the that is from a real known and trusted account.
  • Infecting the campaign with ransomware and/or other malware to negatively impact operations or compromise other campaign accounts.
  • Conducting cybercrime-related activities to steal money from the campaign, like the Business Executive Compromise (For more information on the Business Exec. Compromise, see the Rochester Institute of Technology's information page, here). 

Phishing, as it relates to campaigns, can be highly targeted.


Learn More: How phishing attempts are different for campaigns, What is a Phishing Simulation?

How To: Defending Against Phishing

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