The 1st of April is a day marked by good humored pranks, but the internet has changed that. April Fools’ pranks are all well and good when done by your mates, but when you get pranked by a cybercriminal, your internet security gets breached into.
As with any big holiday, occasion or big trend, you need to be on the alert for online scams and phishing attempts. Cybercriminals will use the holiday in the subject line of an email to a.) fool the spam filters and b.) because you’re more likely to open it. Once you do open one of these emails, you’ll be faced with an image or attachment to download, or taken to a website where the cybercriminal mastermind will attempt to extract personal information from you, while installing malware on your device. Here are some other subject lines to watch out for:
I am a fool for your love
Surprise! The Joke’s on you.
All Fools’ Day
April Fools’ Day
Happy April Fools Day!
Ransomware is the big ticket for this year’s April Fools’. Ransomware is a type of malware which limits your access to your computer, the only way to gain access back is to pay the cybercriminal mastermind a fee to remove the infection and ‘clean it up’. Be wary of messages on your computer telling it must shut down or is infected, it may be a ransomware hoax.
On the upside, some April Fools’ Day pranks are pretty hilarious, and it is not dangerous to partake in them. Take for example, Google Gulp – the drink to make you smarter or Google Nose – the feature that enables you to search for smells. The biggest Google prank, however, is the one about shutting down Youtube.
Now back to malicious pranks...
What can you do to outsmart online scammers and protect your internet security?
Be educated. It’s important to remember that cybercriminals are active throughout the year, not just on the 1st of April.
- As you go about living your life on the internet, be skeptical about sweepstakes and lottery opportunities.
- If you didn’t play the lottery recently but have been informed that you won, then your gut should tell you that this isn’t real.
- Investment and work-at-home opportunities are another big area that is exploited. Any opportunity that you need to pay money upfront for is not a genuine opportunity.
- As a general rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Scams typically all follow the same pattern, once you know a few, you know them all. So make sure you:
- Subscribe to the BullGuard BullGuard today and begin your education against cybercrminal masterminds.
- Read up on previous posts where we’ve covered other types of scams like spearphishing and mobile scams.
- Adjust your privacy settings on all of your social network sites so that strangers can’t access your profile information.
- Get BullGuard’s internet security software to protect you against phishing attempts and point out the malicious links in your search results and on Facebook that you shouldn’t click on.
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