Increased awareness is taking place concerning a phishing attack. It has been around for over a year and is targeting Gmail users. Inboxes are being infiltrated by hackers, which is allowing these cyber criminals access to both incoming and outgoing email messages. That in and of itself isn’t the shocker. What is more surprising is what happens next. Hackers look for emails that have links attached and replace them with a Gmail login screen that is malicious. Once the user clicks on the attachment, they will see a Gmail login screen prompting the login and password for that account. Once this happens, the hackers have instant access to sensitive login information, making it easy for them to see a whole new inbox to start the process over from.
Here’s how it works…
Let’s say someone sends you an email that has a Word document attached to it. That email is sent from their Gmail account to your Gmail account. Your account becomes hacked, which opens it up to cyber criminals who can get in and put that malicious Gmail login screen in place of the attached Word document. Now when you click on that attachment, you follow the prompts to sign into your Gmail account. Instead of opening the document as you thought it would, it gives hackers full access to your password so they can get into your account. They grab more email addresses from your list and repeat the cycle.
Phishing attacks take place when malicious links, malware or attachments sent by hackers infect your account through the emails they send. They are certainly nothing new, but they are always changing and evolving, becoming more sophisticated and tough to catch.
This Gmail attack is a great example of that. Usually there are several red flags associated with a phishing attack that make it easy to avoid being infected. But with this attack, it comes from an email thread that seems familiar and trusted. You usually don’t know the sender, whereas in this Gmail attack, you most likely do know the sender. It’s easy to suspect a hacker when you see urgent messages in your email, telling you to please open immediately. It could be under the guise of overdue bills, an invoice that has a mistake, package tracking info, etc. Because it is coming from a trusted source, you click on the malicious attachment, giving the hackers the info they are looking for. One tip is to watch out for spelling and grammar mistakes. The hackers are counting on the fact that you won’t think twice about it if it’s coming from an email you already deem safe. If you see spelling errors, be careful about what you click on. Also, be wary of any screen prompting you to log into your account when you’re already logged in! Many people miss the small but obvious signs of a phishing attack.
Stay safe online with more tips from Tech Sentries! Call us at 843-282-2222.