There is a new Gmail phishing scam doing the rounds, and it is being considered to be the most authentic looking of all so far, one that can lure even the most tech-savvy in its nets. For one, phishing attacks need to look as authentic as is possible. And the latest ranks right up there to be almost identical to the original, which also explains why many have fallen for it.
How it works:
It starts with getting emails from someone familiar in your contact list. The subject line used also seems more in tune to what you would perhaps expect from the person, something that also applies to the attachment included in the mail. The modus operandi too has a role as the contentious email seemingly comes from someone in your contact list.
Clicking on the attachment will redirect you to a separate tab which looks exactly like the Gmail login page. And it is here where disaster strikes. Believing Gmail might have logged you out accidentally, you will perhaps re-enter the login credential, as many have already done.
The login details that you have entered are then utilized almost immediately to gain unauthorized access to your account. This is done either automatically using a computer program or the hackers have a team ready to get into the act the moment an account has been compromised.
The next step for the hackers is to send another of their authentic looking email to someone from your contact list, with the recipient having the impression that the email has been sent by you. In fact, hacking just one Gmail account allows the hackers to reach out to several more possible targets, and possibly more victims too.
In fact, the hackers’ attention to detail in masking their nefarious intention is indeed remarkable. That includes their use of bit.ly URL which hides the address of the fake link.
How to avoid:
As security expert Mark Maunder, the CEO of a WordPress security plugin called Wordfence said, there is no way to determine if your account has been hacked but has recommended to change the password immediately if anything unusual is seen. Always checking your account activity as shown in the lower right corner of your Gmail account page will also help you determine if there is anyone else apart from you using your account.
Keeping an eye on the address bar is also recommended. For instance, the green padlock symbol is another way to be sure you are within a security cover. The address should also be something like this: ‘https://accounts.google.com…’ though, in the fake Gmail login page, the address reads like this: ‘data:text/html,https://accounts.google.com…’. Enabling two-factor authentication is another way to prevent phishing attacks, that is unless when the hackers have access to your phone as well.