Workplace IT Issue: How Email Fraud is Becoming Sneakier and More Sophisticated
Are You Sure You Can Spot E-mail Fraud or a Contaminated E-Mail?
We know what you’re thinking. Fake Emails? They’re transparent and effortless to spot. But as Internet culture becomes increasingly sophisticated, so do its scam artists, hackers and cyber-criminals.
Be warned: email schemes have never been as expertly formulated as they are right now. And the only way to tackle these cyber-scammers is to outsmart them. But before you can do that, it’s important to have a thorough grasp of what these sophisticated scam e-mails can look like so that you can identify them.
The iTunes E-Mail Fraud Scheme
Apple’s popular and iconic iTunes platform has become a major target for hackers looking to steal credit card data from the service’s untold millions of users, according to Help Net Security’s website.
Victims receive a cleverly-crafted email informing them that they have supposedly made an expensive purchase on iTunes. The victim, having never made the purchase to begin with, usually becomes concerned by the email and naturally tries to resolve the problem –- in this case, by clicking on the fake link provided.
After clicking the link, the victim is asked to download a fake PDF reader. Once installation is complete, the user is redirected to an infected web page containing the Zeus Trojan, which is specifically designed to steal personal data from your computer. This phishing attack was uncovered shortly after a similar attack targeting LinkedIn users appeared recently, which seems to have originated in Russia.
Don’t Click the Links!
“Phishing scams have been around for a long time, but lately these scams are becoming harder to decipher because their design is so much like the real thing,” said Ryan Moreau, Internet safety expert of KiwiCommons.com.
Users should remember to never click on links to web sites or online services they receive in emails. Instead, they should sign in through the actual website, where everything about your account can be verified.
Cyber-Criminal Abuse of Social Media
It gets worse. According to the BCS Chartered Institute for IT, an organization that promotes the advancement of IT science, a growing number of cyber-criminals are shifting their focus from email to social media. Panda Security’s third quarterly report of 2010 has found that “clickjacking” has become popular on Facebook. Clickjacking is an attack employed by criminals that persuade users into clicking buttons, such as the Facebook “Like” button.
Sebastian Zabala, Panda’s manager for the UK and Sweden, suggests that a combination of increasingly spam-savvy email users and an ever-expanding number of potential targets on social networks has led to the shift in focus. Zabala argues that “in the form of social media, it is harder for users to separate what is a phishing attack from a message. You are more inclined to click on everything, because you want to see everything and you want to see what is happening.”
So, how do you avoid being cheated by these Internet scoundrels? By reading this article you’ve taken the first step.
As with everything in this rapidly changing world, the onus is on you to stay informed, vigilant and proactively up-to-date on the latest Internet safety information and news. Stay up-to-date with online security risks by visiting websites like www.KiwiCommons.com, and learn about recent scams, so you become more knowledgeable about what to look for.