The criminal activity of persuading people to give personal information such as account numbers, passwords and credit card details by directing them to a fake website which has been made to look exactly the same as the website of a legitimate bank or other organisation.
Typically, emails are used as "bait" (= cebo) in order to get the potential victim to visit the fake website. The emails use various stratagems to trick readers into clicking on the included links, thereby opening the bogus website. Information submitted on these bogus websites may then be used to steal funds from the user's accounts and/or steal the victim's identity.
The term phishing has been around in computer hacker culture since the mid-nineties, where it originally referred more generally to the practice of acquiring password information in order to infringe security barriers. Its use specifically in the context of internet-based financial crimes is more recent. The word is derived from a deliberate misspelling of fish in its verbal sense of trying to obtain information.