Microsoft users have been warned about a record number of phishing scams. New research has revealed that the makers of Windows 10, Windows 11, Outlook and Word are the most impersonated companies when it comes to phishing scams. This news comes with permission from Atlas VPN, which analyzed data for scams carried out in 2021.
The VPN provider found that Microsoft was the most impersonated company when it came to phishing scams, accounting for more than a third of threats (36.6 percent).
Phishing scams, if you weren’t already aware, are when scammers pretend to be a legitimate company in an effort to trick users into handing over sensitive data.
This is usually done by scaring the victim into handing over personal data, for example by claiming that an attack was carried out, or that an account is at risk for some reason.
Among the products targeted by scammers are Microsoft accounts, which are used for Windows and Outlook among other things, as well as logins to OneDrive and 365 Office.
Interestingly, the second most common phishing scam that Atlas VPN noticed was related to illegal streaming services.
The use of these sites has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic with people who have been staying at home looking for something to entertain them, turning to the illegal sites to access movies and box sets illegally for free.
According to Atlas VPN, about 13.6 percent of phishing attacks in 2021 were due to illegal streaming sites. While the third place was occupied by phishing scams that exploited people’s fears about Covid-19. Such scams can include fake emails claiming to provide a vaccine against the coronavirus.
Other phishing scams that were popular in 2021 were based around Amazon, PayPal, WhatsApp, Facebook, and more.
Speaking about the threat, Vilius Kardelis – cyber security writer at Atlas VPN – said: “Phishing attacks require the user to recognize and assess potential danger. However, people are prone to making mistakes, and a well-organized socially-organized attack can fool anyone. Roughly… Therefore, being aware of how phishing attacks work is essential when mitigating the risk of a threat.”
If you receive an email that you think is a phishing scam but you are not 100 percent sure, you can simply contact the organization in question to double-check if it is an official correspondence.
While this will take some time, you will lose more time and have to deal with a lot of stress if you unfortunately fall victim to such fraud.
Besides stealing sensitive details such as usernames and passwords, phishing scams can also lead to the theft of bank details – potentially potentially losing a lot of money.
If you receive a fraudulent email, you can report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s National Electronic Fraud and Reporting Centre.
Action Fraud also has information on their site to help you spot a fraudulent email before you fall victim to it. Here are things to look for…
– The sender’s email address does not match the website address of the trusted organization
– The email is sent from a completely different address or a free webmail address
– The email does not use your correct name, but uses a non-specific salutation such as “Dear Customer”
a sense of urgency; For example threatening to close your account unless you act immediately
A prominent website link. It can be fake or very similar to the correct address, but even one letter difference means a different website
– Request for personal information such as username, password or bank details
– The email contains spelling and grammatical errors
– You weren’t expecting to receive an email from the company that seems to have sent it
– The full text of the email is embedded in an image instead of the usual text format
– The image contains an embedded hyperlink to a fake website