The deceptive art of phishing, once primarily relegated to the confines of email scams, has rapidly morphed into a multifaceted menace. As the digital landscape evolves, this risk is no longer related to just email correspondence. Phishing now casts a treacherous net across social media platforms and mobile devices.

If ignored and not properly protected against, these threats can have significant consequences, including identity theft, data breaches, and financial loss.

Keep reading to understand social media and mobile threats, how phishing occurs on these platforms, and learn steps to prevent being victimized.

What Is a Social Media Threat? 

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, provide fraudsters with a plethora of victim information and an easy way to access it.

In a social media phishing attack, a scammer creates a fake account or phony link, often under a popular topic or trending hashtag, which real users may share or like. Once a legitimate user clicks on the link, they’re redirected to a fake login page that captures their login credentials, enabling the scammer to take control of the account.

How Social Media Phishing Works 

With social media phishing attacks, it may appear that the message is coming from a legitimate source.

In reality, attackers use images, logos, and phrases that aim to be convincing enough to trick the user into believing they are dealing with a legitimate account. This type of phishing can be particularly dangerous because the attack can happen in real-time, making it difficult for users to identify what’s happening and take proactive countermeasures.

Preventing Social Media Phishing 

To avoid becoming a victim of social media phishing, users should avoid clicking on links in social media posts or direct messages if it’s not from a legitimate source.

It’s also a good idea to inspect the URL of the site the user is directed to before entering any login credentials, as attackers often use websites with URLs that mimic the site they’re imitating, with only small changes or omissions. For example, could be

Users can also enable an antivirus program with built-in phishing protection to further safeguard against this threat.

What Is a Mobile Threat?

Mobile threats involve criminal attempts to compromise mobile devices by adding malware or apps that exploit vulnerabilities. Once the phone is infected with malware, the scammer might have access to all the data stored on the device: from contacts to credit cards, personal information, and beyond.

How Mobile Phishing Works 

Mobile phishing comes in several forms, and each works a bit differently:

  • Phishing Texts– Known as “smishing,” this attack works similarly to email or social media phishing—cyberattackers send a text message that looks like it came from a known institution, directing the victim to click on a provided link and give sensitive information
  • Phishing Voice Calls- Called “vishing,” this is similar to smishing but with a phone call—cybercriminals call and claim to be from a known institution
  • Fraudulent app distribution
  • Bogus social media channels

Smishing works similarly to email or social media phishing—cyberattackers send a text message that looks like it came from a known institution, directing the victim to click on a provided link and give sensitive information. Fraudulent app distribution is another popular form, where attackers disguise malware as an existing app to gain access to user data.

Finally, bogus social media channels, often Twitter accounts that impersonate popular companies, are used to gain access to private information.

Preventing Mobile Phishing 

To prevent falling for a mobile phishing scam, users should ignore messages from unknown senders, particularly those that promise freebies or massive discounts. It’s crucial to download apps only from the official app store, as attackers often create fake apps that appear genuine but actually contain malware. Finally, like with social media phishing, be cautious when clicking on links from a social media source or even a search engine, as these can be compromised as well.

Bottom Line: Phishing Is Evolving 

Phishing attacks are a growing concern for both individuals and businesses and with cybercrime focusing on social media and mobile devices, it’s become critical that users follow the best practices for protecting themselves.

By staying aware of the risks of social media and mobile phishing and following simple steps like avoiding unknown senders and downloading trusted apps from legitimate sources, users may significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to these scams.

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Contact Information:

Name: Carolina d’Arbelles-Valle
Email: [email protected]
Job Title: PR Specialist

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