Unfortunately the scammers aren’t going away and I think it’s fair to say that this is going to get worse before it gets better and that’s if it gets better at all. The fact is that despite the efforts of the many security companies to stay ahead of the cyber-criminals, it can be extremely difficult to stop these emails entering your inbox owing to:
- They don’t actually have any virus or malware attached (The link takes you to the source of the infection)
- A number of the images or links might actually hyperlink back to the authentic site.
The problem with these type of emails is that the links they want you to, and encourage you to click on, will very likely result in you infecting your machine with malware that could result in the illegal harvesting of your data or allow the cyber-criminals take control of your machine, lock you out and force you to pay a ransom to regain access to your own data.
This isn’t something new and we’ve warned you about these types of scams on numerous occasions. Scammers rely on user complacency to find their victims and we’re all guilty of getting a little complacent at times. You come into the office and open your email client to find that it’s got a couple of dozen new mails. It’s only natural that you’ll want to work through them as quickly as possible to have a clear inbox before coffee break.
Taking a few extra minutes examining the emails in your inbox may be the difference between actually enjoying that coffee or explaining to the boss why you now have a demand for a ransom payment flashing on your screen or worse, that the entire office network has now been infected with malware.
It’s the common bad practices of users that are the biggest threat to your network. Clicking on links that are from unknown sources or in the case from what appears to be legitimate sources will likely lead to a compromise to your network . If you don’t trust it 100% then “Don’t Click” on it and have your IT dept or IT support company investigate it
The following are just a couple of scams that are doing the rounds right now.
Look at the email on the right. This looks legit and the logo even hyperlinks back to the authentic UPS website, however if you click on the highlighted “Track Package” link then your day is going to take a turn for the worse. It’s very easy to fall for email scams like this. You’ve just found out that you have a package on the way and want to see what it is. Maybe you ordered something and simply forgot or maybe boss has ordered something and used your email address as the contact email. The fact is, you are not 100% certain the email or links contained within the email are legit so “Don’t Click” on them
The image on the left is from an email a colleague received purporting to be from Microsoft suggesting that you should click on the link included to visit the 365 portal to create a new password. Again, this look legit but just as with the UPS mail above, if you click on the link you are going to be hit with a malware attack. Simply hovering over the link will let you see the actual address you are been taken to and again if you don’t trust it 100%, “Don’t Click”
Scams emails are looking more and more authentic so you are going to have to be more vigilant then ever. I may have mention this once or twice in this piece. If you aren’t 100% certain of the source of an email or the links included in an email, “Don’t Click”.
John Grennan – IT.ie