You would never open a phishing e-mail that asks you to deposit $1,000 to acquire $1 million, would you? And you would certainly never open anything from a Nigerian prince needing the dollars he needs to flee to the United States, right? But how about the most sophisticated of today’s phishing e-mails? Think you would never fall for one of these? Think again. A recent phishing e-mail snared the Associated Press, the nation’s top provider of wire-service news. If the AP could fall prey to phishing, so could you.
Syrian Electronic Army
Recently, a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army hacked into the Twitter account of the AP and posted a message saying that President Obama was seriously injured in an explosion at the White House. This Tweet was false, needless to say. But that didn’t prevent the stock market from taking a big plunge. It shows, too, that even the savviest of us have to be on guard from state-of-the-art phishing attacks.
A real news story?
As Slate reports, hackers sent AP staffers what appeared to be a perfectly legitimate e-mail message containing a supposed link to a real news story in the Washington Post. Problem was, this e-mail was a scam. And when AP staffers clicked on it, the members of the electronic army group could nab the passwords that let them take over the AP’s Twitter account.
It’s very easy to poke fun at the AP for getting hacked. Nonetheless, nobody is safe from the more sophisticated con artists behind the latest phishing attacks. These scammers no longer send phishing e-mails about Nigerian princes. Instead, they send out messages that look like they’re from people we know. The lesson here? You need to be continuously vigilant if you want to safeguard yourself from today’s trickiest online scammers.