Coming soon to an inbox near you, an email from Whatsapp notifying you that a voice message is awaiting your response. The email includes a handy Play button so you can listen to the message without having to open Whatsapp. So thoughtful of them. Of course clicking the Play button loads your computer with malware allowing the criminals to steal your identify or encrypt your files and hold them for ransom.
This is yet another reminder not to click on links/ buttons/ attachments/photos in unexpected emails. Criminals are getting more and more creative and sophisticated, crafting emails that are getting harder and harder to detect as fake. However, you can avoid becoming a cyber crime victim by simply adopting the practices of:
- Being fully present when reading your emails.
Criminals count on you being distracted when you read your email. The majority of attacks occur on the day before a long weekend when users are not paying attention to what is in their inbox. They click not because they don’t know better, but because they aren’t paying attention.
- Visiting known sites or apps directly.
If you receive any kind of notification from any organization or application, visit the site or open the application directly. If it is legitimate the same information that is in the email will be found on the website or in the application. Do not trust the email.
- Calling people from your contact list to confirm that they sent an email.
If you recognize the sender, do not assume the email came from them. Cyber criminals can hack your contact list and make it look like a trusted friend sent you a nice cat video. Call the sender directly and confirm that they sent the email.