Don't fall for the clever disguises of online criminals

Gracie Roberts, Nov 30, 2016 2:30:42 PM

In order to protect children against phishing attacks, teach your kids not to reply to unknown texts, open attachments in emails, or click on pop-ups.

 

Clever cybercrooks go “phishing” for victims by using what looks like authentic emails, texts, and pop-up messages to trick people into sharing their personal information. Lots of adults can’t even tell the difference in these well-designed messages.

Faking them out with the perfect disguise

Phishing attacks also pose a significant threat for our children. In an article from ZDNet, journalist Danny Palmer describes the lengths to which phishers will go in order to lure in innocent victims. When describing one case of an individual falling victim to a phishing attack, he writes the following:

“Attackers first searched for their intended victim on LinkedIn and were able to see information including where they went to school. From there, the attackers were able to look at the school's website, which identified the victim as a past captain of the rugby team. Using that extra information, the attacker did some additional research and found out the name of the rugby team's vice captain.

They then used this in order to build a convincing looking email: one spoofing a genuine-looking email address from the old team-mate, and which referred to the victim by name. The email claimed to come with an old rugby team photo of the two in an attachment.

When the victim clicked on the attachment, a dialogue box popped up and eager to see what's actually a non-existent photo they selected 'OK'. In doing so they enabled the attacker to gain control of the PC via the use of Trojan spyware, which then went unnoticed for two weeks while it spied on the network and gathered data.“

This goes to show that often, phishing attacks can go deeper than merely a scammy-looking email from an address that is easy to identify as a cybercriminal.

In order to protect children against phishing attacks, teach your kids not to reply to unknown texts, open attachments in emails, or click on pop-ups. Eavesdropping malware can be installed, or they can be tricked into revealing personal info on a fun “survey” that turns out to be bait in a bigger scam.

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