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Check Point Software Warns of a 645% Increase in Royal Mail-related Phishing Scams

– Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cyber-security solutions globally, is warning individuals and organizations in the UK of a recent surge in phishing campaigns in which hackers impersonate the Royal Mail to try and trick recipients into disclosing their personal details.


Fraudulent texts and emails are linking to phishing websites which are designed to look similar to the official Royal Mail site. The web page requests the recipient’s personal details, which are then used to try and steal the target’s identity and commit financial fraud.


According to UK Finance, 2020 was a record year for Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams with gross losses of £479million. It also reported that ‘impersonation scams’ saw the biggest increase of any scam type, doubling in 2020 compared to 2019 – this is where criminals trick individuals by pretending to be from trusted organizations, such as Royal Mail. Check Point’s researchers took a closer look into how widespread the problem is, and discovered:


• 138 malicious Royal Mail related websites: Many of the malicious websites found by Check Point’s researchers used convincing forms to entice users to submit personal information. Although no longer active, ^royal-mail\.delivery is an example of one of the top 3 websites for such attacks.
• Emails purporting to be from Royal Mail: Check Point’s researchers found various email scams requesting recipients to follow a malicious link to reschedule a delivery or to make an additional shipping fee.
• March was biggest month for attacks: In March 2021, the average weekly number of Royal Mail related cyberattacks reached 150 – a 645% increase on the previous two months which saw just 20.
• 1 in every 35 organizations at risk: Check Point researchers have found Royal Mail related threats in 1 out of every 35 organizations’ networks in the UK.


“During a time when many people are reliant on online deliveries and postal services, these Royal Mail scams are the latest in a string of shipping-related phishing emails where hackers have also impersonated Amazon, DHL and FedEx. It’s a particularly clever way that cybercriminals are trying to steal personal information, and the examples here are only a few of the scams pretending to be legitimate communication from Royal Mail,” said Tom Kendrick, EMEA security evangelist at Check Point Software. “We recommend everyone stays vigilant and watches out for small discrepancies, such as misspellings, in links and email addresses that they receive in messages which appear to come from delivery services. And remember – if an additional fee is due on an item, Royal Mail will leave a card with the intended recipient to confirm this and not send a text or email.”


How to Protect Against Phishing Scams


• Never share your credentials: Credential theft is a common goal of cyberattacks. Many people reuse the same usernames and passwords across many different accounts, so stealing the credentials for a single account is likely to give an attacker access to a number of the user’s online accounts. Never share your account credentials and do not re-use passwords.
• Always be suspicious of password reset emails: If you receive an unsolicited password reset email, always visit the website directly (don’t click on embedded links) and change your password to something different on that site (and any other sites with the same password). By clicking on a link, you can reset the password to that account to something new. Not knowing your password is, of course, also the problem that cybercriminals face when trying to gain access to your online accounts. By sending a fake password reset email that directs you to a lookalike phishing site, they can convince you to type in your account credentials and steal them.
• Verify you are using a URL from an authentic website: One way to do this is not to click on links in emails, and instead click on the link from the Google results page after searching for it.
• Beware of lookalike domains: Watch out for spelling errors in emails or websites, and unfamiliar email senders, or sites using a different top-level domain. For example, a .co instead of .com.
• Always note the language in the email: Social engineering techniques are designed to take advantage of human nature. This includes the fact that people are more likely to make mistakes when they are in a hurry and are inclined to follow the orders of people in positions of authority. Phishing attacks commonly use these techniques to convince their targets to ignore their potential suspicions about an email and click on a link or open an attachment.

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