Phishing has been around for a long time and despite a greater knowledge about the types of scams available, it still continues to prove one of the most successful ways to con people out of money or trick them into disclosing personal information.
Cybercriminals are continually adapting and tweaking their scams to reach as wide an audience as possible and one of the most successful places to do this is on social media.
There are over 3 billion social network users around the world, and this massive global audience provides the crooks with a rich hunting ground for attacks.
A recent report from RiskIQ found a 100% increase in phishing attacks taking place across all social media platforms and this is only expected to rise with the proliferation of new networks and users.
Traditional email-based phishing continues to prove a lucrative way to defraud people, but social media phishing enables criminals to blend in among the masses, quietly and methodically research their potential victims, and then launch targeted attacks that often go unnoticed.
They are also quick to take advantage of a more relaxed and trusting online environment. The reason many of these scams are so successful is because users tend to be less suspicious about links on social media than they would be on other platforms.
Fake customer service accounts – Social media has changed the way customers interact with brands and they tend to go directly to a company’s social media channels for customer support. Fraudsters have been quick to take advantage of this online relationship to launch fake accounts impersonating major brands. Research has found that 19% of social media accounts appearing to represent top brands were all fake.
Fake comments on popular posts – A trending news story or popular post will tend to generate a lot of likes and comments. Fraudsters will take advantage of this large audience by adding their own comments to the posts with links to other attention-grabbing headlines. As soon as users click on the link, they will be directed to a phishing website or their computer will be infected with malware.
Fake online discounts – It’s hard to resist the lure of a cheap bargain online but these too good to be true offers usually are! The scammers will often create a fake page imitating a big brand name, then pretend to offer a real promotion. These scams are often set up specifically to harvest user data and will require the input of personal information.
Fake trending videos – Fraudsters are adept at manipulating human behaviour to launch scams. They will often use trending topics such as national disasters or sensationalist stories to entice people to click on a video. Upon clicking the link, users are told they need to download a plug-in before being able to view the video. Of course this is nothing more than a ruse to get the user to download malicious software.
To protect yourself from being phished on social media, there are a number of steps you should take:
MetaPhish has been specifically designed to protect businesses from phishing and ransomware attacks and provides the first line of defence in combating cyber-crime. Get in touch for further information on how we can help your business.