It seems so and the latest news seem to demonstrate this unfortunate reality. The IT security firm Kaspersky Lab has warned of this growing concern. It seems that the number of users that have been exposed to online phishing scams in the last 12 months has almost doubled (wtf!) from 19.9 million to 37.3 million, an increase of 87% according to the survey “The Evolution of Phishing Attacks 2011-2013,” conducted by the Moscow-based company.
In the past this company has published other studies that, although they are for sure part of a careful and well executed plan to bring notoriety to their own security firm, a great marketing technique, the figures are certainly reliable.
Phishing is a form of Internet fraud in which criminals create an imitation of a popular site, such as those of email service providers, Internet banking websites and social networking sites, luring users to these fake web pages. I personally have received these fake emails for sites like Paypal or personal banking….Imagine if you enter your username and password on an apparently real page which is just a replica with all the right logos and formats and this goes straight to a scammer…you’re in deep trouble.
The five countries that were targeted most often were Russia, the US, India, Vietnam and the UK. The scams orginated most frequently from the US, the UK, Germany, Russia and India.
In Vietnam, social media is a prime location for targeting innocent individuals who are not schooled in the online market and its dangers. In Linkedin alone, I have seen numerous posts that are scams in one way or another and I do consider that multi-level marketing is a scam too whereas it will lure and entice people with the promise of quick and easy money (large sums of it) and the disappointment is just around the corner. Recently it was a scheme about skin products based on ground-breaking stem cell research… All of these posts were on a social network, Linkedin (Vietnam Expat group), a professional network, where you would imagine the average member is more knowledgeable than in other networks. On this particular network, many people seemed to take the bait, I can only imagine how many may take the bait on other less professional networks.
If you are ever in doubt about a proposition you receive, please, ALWAYS Google it (using the word “scam” next to the other keywords). This can prove enlightening and spare you a lot of wasted time and/or money.
Here are some useful sites:
My personal favorite to avoid re-sending all those ridiculous chain e-mails that so many people fall for (the only purpose of these is to waste time (yours and your friends), money (ask any corporate controller what is the cost of operating mail servers and sending emails, it all adds up) and reduce server performance): http://www.hoaxbusters.org/
Surf safely, always check before committing to anything, Google it all and do your due diligence 🙂