Over 400 Valentine’s Day-themed phishing campaigns spotted weekly

New Delhi: As people go online to purchase gifts for their loved ones to celebrate Valentine’s Day, researchers at cybersecurity firm Check Point on Wednesday said they observed a surge in malicious phishing email campaigns in the second half of January.

Over 400 malicious Valentine’s Day-themed individual phishing emails were spotted weekly during the period, according to the research.

Most of the phishing scams are focused on buyer fraud, and in some cases have reused themes and webpages from past phishing campaigns. 

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For example, the researchers found an email pretending to be from Pandora that was similar to one that they saw being used in Black Friday related campaigns in November 2020. 

The email’s aim was, as usual, to entice the user into purchasing jewellery items by offering them at unreasonably cheap prices, on a fake Pandora webpage which tries to imitate the look and feel of the real site.

“Phishing attacks leverage different attack vectors, but the most common one is email. Other common attack vectors are phishing sites and text messages usually aimed at stealing credentials to perform account takeovers,” Check Point Research said.

These can lead to devastating results such as data loss, fraudulent money transfers and more. 

Since these attacks are specifically designed to exploit the human nature of wanting a good deal, it is extremely important to prevent these attacks from ever reaching their desired victims — because even the most vigilant and cyber-savvy amongst us can sometimes get fooled, the researchers wrote in a blog post. 

In addition, throughout January Check Point Research observed a spike in the number of new Valentine’s Day-themed domains registered. 

Out of the 23,000 new domains, 0.5 per cent (115) were found to be malicious, and 1.8 per cent (414) were found to be suspicious. 

In general, there was a 29 per cent increase in such domains registered in January, in time for the Valentine’s Day season.

To avoid falling victim to these fraud attempts, it is important to verify you are ordering online from an authentic source, the researchers said.

One way to do this is not to click on promotional links in emails, and instead Google your desired retailer and click the link from the Google results page, they added.

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