Phictionary – the phishing dictionary every digital citizen should read

 Two people sit at a table with their laptops and learn about phishing attacks from Phictionary.

Phictionary is a dictionary to help spot the tell-tale signs of phishing attacks. Keep this checklist close by downloading the entire guide below. 

Humans are at the center of modern-day cybercrime. In 2023, scams and phishing attacks targeting consumers have been responsible for two-thirds of all cyber-attacks worldwide, according to Gen threat data. Pound-for-pound, there is more to gain by exploiting the flaws inherent in human beings than the flaws found in software and systems of companies.

This change in approach to cybercrime has coincided with a shift in the sophistication of phishing attacks. Older generations will remember the early days of scams which were often riddled with language and contextual errors that made them easy to spot. Today, cybercriminals are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and tools such as ChatGPT to create highly targeted, error-free communications. As a result, the success rate of phishing is increasing.

To neutralize this, Cyber Safety’s approach to protection needs to change too. It’s no longer enough to protect weaknesses in devices with software, we need to protect the individual, something I call human-centered safety. Despite the bad intentions of cybercriminals to use AI to carry out attacks, it has a critical role to play in the detection of scams, and for over a decade Norton has been integrating AI into its products to help make the internet a safer place. But at the same time, we are focused on the human factor of online safety through education, which we believe will help to reduce the risk of human error.

As the name might suggest, Phictionary is a dictionary of phishing attacks recently detected and blocked by Norton, and we’re exposing them to help you spot the tell-tale signs of suspicious communications designed to steal your personal information. As advocates for the empowerment of Digital Freedom for everyone, everywhere, Phictionary also includes a list of top tips that will help you decide what is, and what isn’t, a phishing attack if you come across one.

Phictionary needed to exist to help correct a problem that’s become normal. I really hope you find it useful.

Stay safe.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a form of fraud that attempts to persuade people to voluntarily give up sensitive personal information by pretending to be a trustworthy source, such as a bank.

Phishing over email is the common method, but other forms of electronic communications including text, video, websites and imagery can also be used to launch an attack.

Usually, the intent of a phishing attack is to obtain passwords to important accounts, capture credit card numbers or download malware to devices that could be used to eavesdrop or lock computers and files until a ransom is paid.

Phishing is still one of the most effective scams in the book, so we decided to expose some of the most common examples.

Common examples of phishing and protection tips

This infographic exposes common examples of phishing attacks and shares recommendations for how to spot phishing.

Get protection

Keep these recommendations close by and refer to it whenever you receive any communication that looks suspicious. If you’re in doubt, erring on the side of caution and scrutinizing the message you’ve received will help you stay safe online and protect your personal information from cybercriminals. For an extra layer of protection, install a reputable antivirus with anti-phishing technology, such as Norton 360.

Michal Pechoucek
  • Michal Pechoucek
  • Chief Technology Officer
Michal leads the core technology, innovation, and R&D teams driving security engines, as well as Gen's technology vision for human-centered digital safety and beyond.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc. 


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