Definition: Phishing is a type of threat. Crackers and other malicious individuals use this technique to deceive legitimate users and infrastructure owners. This type of overt misrepresentation is usually packaged expertly to look as though the source of the request for information is little more than a routine and genuine request information from a legitimate user or network. Some of the threats arrive as email simply asking for critical data (e.g. supposedly from a bank and requesting your account number). The target is generally directed toward an artfully designed but fraudulent web site.
Its Relevance: Unsuspecting computer users and infrastructure owners can easily be "conned" into believing that a message directing them to a web site is counterfeit. Extremely sensitive information can be unknowingly passed to identity thieves and crime syndicates. The "target" becomes an unwitting partner.