A few days ago I warned readers about phishing scams and today, I became a victim. How utterly embarrassing! Take a quick look at this email. If you’re a regular Facebook user, would you question it as a legitimate Facebook notification?
At a quick glance, it looked legitimate to me and with the latest changes from Facebook regarding the news feed, it made sense to me that my profile could have a configuration issue. I enabled links and clicked on “View Notifications.” In a second I was directed to a bright red site and the word “Viagra” popped out at me. I quickly closed out the window and disabled my internet in case I had exposed myself to an infected site and malware on my own computer. It’s unpleasant to admit, but today I became a Phishing Fool for the first time!
After I ran a virus scan, I cautiously looked over the initial email as I scolded myself for doing what I constantly warn my readers not to do! In only a couple of seconds, the signs pointing to this being a phishing email were clear. I didn’t pay attention to the obvious signs because firstly, this email was not delivered to my SPAM box (which is usually my first clue when it comes to phishing emails) and I was fooled by the excellent graphics and layout which lowered my guard. Here are the signs I should have seen initially:
The sender’s address was all that was needed to identity this as a phishing email. Social Media platform notifications are not likely to come from individuals. Furthermore, any legitimate correspondence would have an email address that would have the Social Media’s Platform included in it. I missed this first clue, so let’s find the second. The second clue was given simply by hovering over any of the links before clicking on them. Hovering on each link revealed the exact same address. I can’t think of any good reason for a Facebook link to have the word “ChinesP0” in it. Does this mean it came from a Chinese hacker or spammer? Possibly, but not certainly.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Phishing email formats are improving and we can’t count on grammar and spelling issues to always tip us off. Think carefully before clicking on any link and I will too!
Until next time, … Stay Cyber Safe!