WHY It Is Important to be Skeptical Online
We know, we know! We sound like a mom nagging, over and over! (Well, at least like our nagging mothers.) But it’s true! You have to be skeptical of everything online because it is simply too easy to deceive others and there are PLENTY of bad actors doing just that! Here’s a few recent attempts that got our attention…
A year ago we began to publish articles about malicious clickbait or fake businesses posing as information and products related to protecting us from COVID-19. (There are many articles about these scams near the top of our website, including Coronavirus Clickbait.) These scams have not abated! Check out this email advertisement for KN95 masks. It came from a misspelled and inappropriately named domain called mostbeautyfulboy[.]com. And if you look at the directory in the link that follows the domain name, you’ll see that this malicious clickbait was created by the infamous Hyphen-Poopy Gang! (Two random words connected by a hyphen. In this case harms-ratifies) It’s so important to pay attention to the details of an email!
Fortunately, the Zulu URL Risk Analyzer was able to identify this clickbait as malicious. When we dug under the hood of this scam, we discovered that this beautiful boy is being hosted on a server in Istanbul, Turkey. Just the place you imagined getting your PPE from, right? However, were you to click the links in this email, you would not likely know anything malicious happened to your computer because after downloading malware you will be redirected to a legitimate website that sells KN95 masks.
OK, so you can’t trust all sources of PPE to stay safe in this crazy prolonged pandemic we’re all in. What about Costco? Can you trust them to ship you the important things you’ll need to sustain you in this pandemic, like peanut butter and toilet paper?! One of our readers sent us a screenshot of an email (minus the FROM information) with information to track his package. Except that he hadn’t ordered anything from Costco AND it was being sent to his name at a wrong address in another state! (Sound familiar?) He doesn’t live in New Jersey.
Once again, this is NOT what it appears to be! The important links, such as “Track My Package” and “My Orders” all pointed to a domain called infobip[.]com. A subdomain in front of infobip, and the name of a directory that followed DOT-com, were created to make this look like an email tracking service. This was very clever. However, we’re absolutely certain this is malicious clickbait because the domain infobip[.]com was registered anonymously in Croatia and is being hosted on a server in Hessen, Germany. Adding to the cleverness of this is the fact that, were you to click these links, you wouldn’t suspect that you’re being hit by malware because you will be redirected to the real Costco website.
Most people have probably heard of the “Who’s Who” directory of professionals. And whether or not you think these directories are worthless or not isn’t the point. The point is that this email was sent to a very savvy retiree who knows a thing or two about scams! She’s been sending us her scam emails for a few years now! (And we are grateful!) Nothing gets past her eyes!
She pointed out to us that this invitation for her to join the Who’s Who of America didn’t even know her name! And then there’s the bogus domain the email came from and the domain the “Click me” link points to.
Finally, in this column of deceitful emails, comes a frightening email that can really raise alarm bells and some people’s anxiety level. The recipient is informed that he or she has malware installed on his/her computer and it was used to capture him/her “pleasuring” him/herself. If $950 isn’t paid via bitcoin, then the video of said performance will be released to friends, family and colleagues.
But don’t believe everything you read! This long-winded diatribe is meant to threaten one into believing a complete lie. None of this is true. There is no malware on your computer that controls your video camera and has captured your personal activities on video.
And so, once again, like a nagging mama, we urge our readers to be skeptical about everything they see online! And following that we say…. Verify, verify, verify!
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