updated 7/22/2005 4:02:42 PM ET 2005-07-22T20:02:42

Podcasting and RSS feeds may be the latest craze in high-tech circles but the general public is largely unfamiliar with the Internet terms.

A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project also finds that Internet users aren't all that familiar with "phishing," either.

Seventy percent of Internet users never heard of phishing or aren't sure that it refers to e-mail scams that try to trick users into revealing sensitive information by masquerading as a legitimate bank or credit card issuer.

Eighty-seven percent are unfamiliar with podcasting, which lets everyday users distribute audio files over the Internet for playback any time on computers or digital music players.

And 91 percent do not know about Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, a technology chiefly used to pull summaries of new entries on news sites and Web journals.

"When you look at the adoption of anything, once a critical mass of people are in the know, they assume that everybody else around them are as aware as they are," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew project.

He called the results of the study, based on random telephone interviews with 1,336 Internet users, "a sobering reality check."

The phishing findings, in particular, underscore the importance of continued education campaigns, Rainie said.

The survey was conducted May 4-June 7 and has a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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