In honor of cybersecurity month (October), here is a reminder about the danger of clicking links embedded in emails. Cybercriminals use hyperlinks embedded in emails they send to thousands of targets, trying to gain access to their victims’ sensitive information or digital devices. A hyperlink is a word, phrase, or image that the recipient can click on to jump to a new document or a new section within the current document. Hyperlinks are dangerous and are responsible for most successful criminal hacks. This type of criminal attack is called “phishing”. The success of a “phishing” attacks depends on a victim that “bites” on the juicy worm dangled in front of them, concealing a sharp and hard-to-see hook.
Here are some examples (from the Federal Trade Commission) of messages you might receive from hackers trying to trick you into clicking on a link that gives them information they can use to rob you:
• “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below, and confirm your identity.”
• “During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
If you don’t know the person who sent an email, don’t click on any of its links or attachments. Attachments can be carriers of bad code, known as malware, that can infect your computer and allow criminal gangs to take over your computer. Salutations such as “Hello Taxpayer” or “Dear Customer” and spelling errors are tip-offs that the email was sent by a criminal trying to trick you into clicking a link or opening an attachment that will infect your computer with ransomware or other malware.
Mark S Gleason CPA