As 2020 plods along, new tech challenges I never thought we’d face are becoming realities. First of all, as I’m sure many of you who share living spaces have noticed, home internet connections have become less than ideal during the 8AM – 12 noon timeframe. My kids’ virtual learning via video hogs so much bandwidth that my own video calls for business are cutting out (fortunately, virtual school is only half a day).
Another, more insidious, trend I’ve noticed is Instagram spoofing. A very close family member of mine, who is involved with state-level politics, had a fake Instagram account set up with an extra letter in her name. The spoofer reached out to her followers with short DM messages. The endgame was not clear, as we were able to thwart the spoofer (my 15-year-old daughter spotted the very slightly unusually worded DM), but not before the fake account had already garnered over 100 followers. No doubt this spoofing ploy would lead to a phishing lure where a false sense of trust would be built up, requests for amazon gift cards would be made, and unwitting family friends would be bilked out of who knows how much money. The financial, political and personal damage could have been extensive and very costly to reverse.
Our loyal readers will recall that phishing schemes are nothing new as an online security threat. (Recall our articles earlier in the summer: ANATOMY OF PHISHING IN THIS PANDEMIC – SPEARPHISING IS GREAT, WHALING BEST or “YOU’RE FIRED!” FAKE TERMINATION EMAILS PROLIFERATE IN THIS CLIMATE OF JOB INSECURITY.) However, this newer Instagram spoofing scheme may be more a sign of the times where people are relying on visual cues more – images of faces smiling in video meetings as well as faces associated with accounts in mobile displays. With the recognition of a familiar face associated with the ‘from’ address, readers are less apt to notice an extra letter here-and-there in an Instagram handle and, as a result, scammers are taking advantage.
As I’ve stated before, we’ve created ways to stifle these opportunistic spoofers when they go the next step towards a phishing or whaling scheme: RMail Anti-Whaling email impostor protection for Outlook and, for advanced folks, RMail Gateway inbound-and-outbound phishing and threat protection filters.
And you should know that this and many other rapidly-developing security threats will be discussed in depth at our Oct 1 Optimize FinTech virtual conference, which is designed to help RMail and RSign customers and friends optimize financial services-related operations (insurance, banking, investment management, accounting, receivables, etc.) with feature-rich and more affordable e-sign and e-security.
We hope to see you at the conference in October (read more or register for our virtual user conference here). Until then, stay safe and have a great Labor Day Weekend!