To Click or Not To Click

With the festive season upon us, the pressures of work often result in not having enough time to physically go to the shops to buy presents or gifts. This is where we all thank the advances of technology and use the internet to carry out this task. One of the key benefits of using the online stores is the ability to find discount codes to reduce the price or delivery costs. These are often obtained by searching the internet and spending a few minutes trying codes people have posted on forums with varying success.

Let the Phishing Season Open!

With this knowledge and understanding of how consumers are using discount codes and links, attackers use this to their advantage and take the opportunity to widen their net. You would have noticed over the past few years that you receive a lot more emails providing you with links to discounts / deals, discount codes to online retailers selling items cheaper than anyone else, at this time of year. As consumers, we often want a ‘good deal’ and the chances of clicking the link in an email is high and people’s security sense reduces.

These links are often directing you to a staged website that has been carefully constructed, fooling you into “purchasing” items. These are often fake portals that attackers use to collect card details and personal information, allowing them to sell them to other criminals on the dark web. The other method is to send fake receipts for items, and the intrigued / unsuspecting individual will open this to see what it relates to. Opening these files often causes harm as they are used to introduce a Virus or Malware onto your personal or work computer. The embedded code will allow attackers to remotely access information on your computer and steal it without you ever knowing.

Tip: if you right click on a link, select ‘Copy Hyperlink’ and paste it into Microsoft Word, you will see the real web address the link will take you to. If it doesn’t match the real website you are used to using then do not click on it. 

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With the recent news of Yahoo! suffering an attack in 2013 where over one billion accounts were compromised, the question that arises is: "Why do hackers want to steal people's personal information and what do they do with it?"

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