Anyone who pays attention on April Fool’s Day has learned to think twice about the information they read, the links they receive and the people who try impersonating others. The irony, though, is that while we’re hypervigilant against these harmless pranks, malicious actors are trying to play the same types of tricks on us day in and day out.
Phishing attacks, malicious links and social engineering are just a few of the tricks used by cybercriminals to obtain credentials and other valuable information. The data they steal can then be leveraged to do real harm to victims or used as part of a larger cyberattack. As technology progresses, so are these cyber scammers who have learned to utilise AI chatbots and deep fake technology to make their attacks even more sophisticated.
Phishing attacks are the one of the most common attack vectors used by cybercriminals. This technique involves sending unsolicited emails or messages that appear to be from a reputable source, such as a bank, social media platform or online retailer, saying you need to take some sort of action. The messages typically contain a link that downloads malware onto your device or directs you to a fake website that looks like the real one. Once you enter your credentials or other sensitive information, the bad actors can use it to access your accounts or steal your identity.
When encountering a suspicious message, you should always check the sender’s email address, hover over any links to verify the URL and avoid providing sensitive information until you have confirmed the sender’s identity independently from the original message.
AI chatbots are another tool used by cybercriminals to trick people into revealing their sensitive information that are rapidly growing in popularity. These chatbots are programmed to mimic human conversation and are often used on social media platforms and messaging apps. Along with using AI to write their initial email or message, scammers can also use chatbots to continue a conversation. They may pose as a chatbot themselves or as customer support or other assistance. Meanwhile, they can ask the chatbot to write something that persuades you to give up your credentials or other sensitive information.
When dealing with an AI chatbot or other virtual messaging service, you should always think twice about what information you’re sharing and why the sender claims they need it. If a suspicious message is telling you to click a link or call a number, it may be directing you to the scammer. It’s best practice to navigate to a website or look up a phone number yourself.
Deep fakes are a relatively new tool used by cybercriminals to deceive people. Deep fakes are videos or images that have been manipulated to appear real but are actually fake. They may be used to impersonate celebrities, athletes or manipulate photos of people you know. Cybercriminals can use deep fake technology to impersonate someone you may know or trust to make a social engineering scam even more believable.
Social engineering is perhaps the most insidious method used by cybercriminals to obtain your sensitive information. This technique involves convincing people into revealing their credentials or other sensitive information through psychological manipulation. For example, a cybercriminal may impersonate a trusted individual or organisation and use fear or urgency to convince you to give up your personal and sensitive information.
To avoid falling victim to social engineering, you should always be cautious when dealing with anyone who asks for your information. Anytime a request seems suspicious, you should verify the identity of the person or organisation, even if it takes a little more time to do so.
Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to trick people into revealing their sensitive information. For example, some criminals may use fake job postings or online surveys to collect your information. Others may use fake websites or apps that appear legitimate but are actually designed to steal your credentials.
To protect yourself from cyberthreats, stay vigilant about the information you share online and take steps to secure your accounts. This includes using strong and unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication whenever possible and avoiding clicking on links or downloading attachments from any unknown or suspicious source.