The concept of phishing was developed by The Warez Community - often referred to as The Scene - in the 1990s. The Scene is an underground tech group that specializes in the distribution of copyrighted materials (i.e. film, music, games, etc). Before phishing even got its name, it began on AOL with random credit card generators.
The Scene would used these randomly generated credit card numbers to open fake AOL accounts under a previous phishing victim’s name. With this, The Scene used the victim’s hacked account to send even more phishing messages to the victim’s contacts - essentially, a never-ending process.
Eventually, AOL stepped up with new security measures that prevented the use of randomly generated credit card numbers; however, The Scene had already moved on to the next scam: fake AOL Administrator accounts. Hacking the system itself, The Scene had full control. To read more about the history and future of phishing, check out the infographic below.
infographic by: www.avanan.com