This is a series dedicated to insuring that hackers and phishers can do no harm to your computer or your finances. Computer security basics will not be covered in this series.
We shall differentiate between two species of attacker as follows:
HACKER - The hacker (or cracker, depending on your school of thought) is an individual or bot that attempts to seize your machine via remote access. On operating systems that allow for a remote shell or graphical user interface with remote access, the remote login features are attacked via malware or social engineering. If successful, such attacks gain control of the hardware and operating system, allowing the creation of further bots, spam factories, etc.
PHISHER - The phisher is an individual or bot that attempts to steal your identity, banking information, and/or other sensitive financial/personal information via mostly social engineering based attacks. Getting a victim to click on a link going to a website that spoofs an actual one, lets say a bank's, has become very common. Such a spoof tricks you into divulging personal information to information thieves via spurious websites and forms. This is the hardest kind of attack to stop, as current Internet security applications have no control over operation of the wetware.