Thanks to idiots around the world, email scams were hugely popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But eventually, thanks to spam filters and computer education, the impact of email scams gradually waned.
Well, it looks like computer users have let their guards down. Today, email scams are staging a comeback. Major antivirus firms like Sophos and Kaspersky have sent out warnings to their users that a new wave of scam emails is attacking people around the world. These emails are more cleverly disguised than ever before, which means more and more people are falling for them every day.
According to the Sophos Naked Security blog, emails are claiming to be from reputable companies like YouTube, LinkedIn, British Airways, and others. The emails still have some spelling and grammar mistakes, although they’re not as obvious as they once were. Making matters worse is the fact that the links in the emails appear to direct users to legitimate websites. Take a look at this fake YouTube email, for example:
These emails also prey on user insecurities, which is nothing new. For example, the YouTube email congratulates users on hitting the top of the YouTube charts – a message which is sure to set any amateur videographer’s adrenaline racing.
The spam emails also appear to be coming from legitimate senders. For example, instead of sending an email from a domain that looks legitimate (like say, linkedin12345.com), the scammers have been able to mask their emails as coming from within the a legitimate organization. This Google Support email appears to come from firstname.lastname@example.org, for example:
This is obviously worrying for users who rely on the sender’s address bar to decide whether or not an email is legitimate.
So how do you protect yourself from this new wave of scam emails? Well, the best way is to think critically about every email that enters your inbox. Think about why that company is sending you a message, and if any email seems too good to be true, then it’s probably not real.
You should also hover your mouse over each and every link you’re about to click on over email. When you hover your mouse over a link, it will tell you where that URL is pointing. So, while the URL in the YouTube message above might appear to be going to a legitimate YouTube video, it’s actually just masking a malicious website.
And of course, the final line of defense is good antivirus software. If you don’t have antivirus software installed, try downloading PC Cleaner Pro today, which has powerful anti-malware capabilities.