'Game of Thrones' is back, and so are phishing scams: Here's how to avoid them
The use of malware disguised as 'GoT' content has become a pain point for many fans.
Apart from the producers of the show, scammers also worked hard to trap unsuspecting fans. Multiple well-crafted fake websites target 'Game of Thrones' fans with merchandise and tickets to events. The fake websites look so real that it is not difficult to fall prey to them. What differentiates legit sites from fakes ones is the way they treat fan communities.
It is the insurmountable craving to watch the series, buy merchandise related to it, go for fan events, makes people careless, clicking on just about any link to watch their favourite show. The show is the most frequently pirated show on TV. Scammers often send phishing emails disguised as copyright notices.
With season 8 of 'GoT' making its debut, a whole lot of unsuspecting and innocent fans are susceptible to new scams. A research blog from Check Point comes to the rescue, by examining the latest malicious activities that may take advantage of fans. What these fake websites do is actually detrimental to the user. They hack into all your essentials, your email, credit card and mobile phone details.
For instance, the website gameofthronesratings.com promises to help you win a special gift pack of 'GoT' merchandise. Although what really happens when you click on the website is that you end up giving away details about your email and from your phone.
Do not fall prey to gameofthronesofficalshop.com website, which claims to sell official merchandise from the show. While you may find it difficult to understand whether the site is real or fake, if you look closely at the URL you will be able to spot the typo. That is your clue to figure out if the website is real or fake. Also, if you do happen to spend some time on the website, and click the Facebook button, it leads you nowhere; that is also a definite giveaway.
Not everyone is able to differentiate between fake and legitimate websites. The legitimate ones include fan pages, online games or smaller shopping sites, which are actually looking for potential customers or new community members.
On the other hand, the spam websites exploit the brand's popularity to display ads, hack into personal information or convince the user to install an unwanted program. And to one's dismay, at the end of the process, no streaming content is displayed.
If you are one of those fans who has subscribed to different websites for receiving updates about the show, you are most likely to be conned in the most legitimate manner. A lot of fans received an email from HBO. To make matters worse the mailing address of the sender was actually the correct one. On opening the mail, it gives the user the bad news that they have downloaded content which is copyrighted by HBO. Now, they will need to pay a penalty for doing the same, and if they fail to pay or agree for a settlement, then they may have to face legal consequences for the same. The tone and tenor of the email seems so real that one would easily fall prey to such a threat, thus compromising a lot of their personal data and probably money as well.
But, you don't have to be a victim of any such phishing scams. Here's how to avoid them:
- Think and read carefully before clicking on a URL
- Avoid clicking on links that appear in random emails, messages
- Ensure that a site's URL begins with 'https' and there is a closed lock icon near the address bar
- It is imperative to have an advances threat-prevention solution installed in your system, like Check Point’s SandBlast Agent zero-phishing protection
To avoid falling prey to phishing scams, here's a list of sites found by Check Point: