University of Southampton


What is Phishing?

Phishing is a term used to describe a fraudulent attempt to acquire information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by pretending to be a trustworthy source in an electronic communication.

Email or instant messaging, purporting to be from popular social networking websites, auction sites, online payment sites or IT administrators are commonly used.

Phishing emails often contain links to websites that are infected with “malware” malicious software used to gather sensitive information such as passwords.  Malware such as computer viruses can also be used by attackers to disrupt computer operation or gain access to private computer systems.

Attackers want to get hold of your username and password so that they can get into your accounts.

With access to your account, they can get hold of your personal information so that they can use your identity.

They can use this to make money!

For advice on Phishing please visit:

What happens if I click on a link in a Phishing email?

If you click on a link in a phishing email you may be taken to a fake website which will try to get you to input personal information such as your username and password, or other personal data such as your date of birth.

If you give your password, the criminals will have access to your email account and other University services.

If you give other information such as personal data this could be used to commit theft and fraud using your identity

What effect does Phishing have on the University?

University mail delivery may be slowed down.

Mail being sent from the University may be blocked by other people and organisations who don't want the junk mail they receive from the University.

The effect on communications may adversely affect the business of the University!


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