'Game of Thrones' Fans Need to Beware of Phishing Scams
Game of Thrones has ended, but, sadly, we cannot say the same about phishing scams targeted at the TV show’s fans. Apparently, cybercriminals see the continuing interest in the TV series as a perfect opportunity to trick people into revealing their sensitive information. To achieve this, hackers have created fake Game of Thrones websites, where they ask for personal information in exchange for winning prizes, and so on. This is not the first and, probably, not the last Game of Thrones scam yet, so if you are a fan of the show and you do not want to get tricked by scammers, we encourage you to read our full blog post. Further in the article, we discuss how Game of Thrones scams work and, most importantly, how to avoid them.
How do Game of Thrones scams work?
It looks like cybercriminals created numerous websites that imitate a legitimate Game of Thrones website. As you can imagine, they can look convincing, as they may contain the Game of Throne’s logo, photos from the series, etc. Even the phishing scam sites’ URL addresses may not raise any suspicion as some of them may seem legitimate, for example, gameofthronesblog or officialgameofthrones. To see a whole list of fake Game of Thrones web pages, you should visit a blog belonging to the company whose specialists found out about the fictitious sites; it is called Check Point.
Links to the described fake Game of Throne’s websites could be spread through unreliable web pages, pop-up advertisements, or messages. Some of the sites ask to enter email addresses, telephone numbers, or even sensitive information like credit card details. For instance, email address and telephone address could be asked by websites inviting to participate in fake contests or lotteries. Such information can be sold on the dark web or it could be used for further scams. While credit card information might be asked on fake merchandise shops. Needless to say, if cybercriminals obtain it, they might be able to steal money from their victims’ accounts. Of course, if they do not have all the needed information, they may employ other phishing scams to get the missing details.
It is a bit different with fake Game of Thrones streaming sites. The user might be asked to provide personal or sensitive information too or even download a particular extension, but the difference is that, in the end, the victim cannot stream any episodes, which, of course, should signal that something is wrong.
How to avoid getting tricked by Game of Thrones scams?
The number one rule when avoiding phishing scams is to never provide your personal or sensitive information when you are not sure a website, person, or organization that is asking for your details can be trusted. It means that if you see some offer, you should not interact with it unless you are sure it comes from a legit source.
For example, if you receive a message offering cheap Game of Thrones merchandise, you could hover over the link to find out if it will actually take you where it says it would. Also, it is important to make sure that websites you visit start with https and that your browser’s address bar displays a closed lock icon near the links. If you are still not sure, you should close the offer and go to a verified online shop selling the TV show’s merchandise. The prices might be much bigger compared to those offered by phishing websites, but the difference is that you will receive what you pay for and will not have to worry that your sensitive information might fall into the wrong hands.
Also, it is important to keep tools that might warn you about phishing scams up to date. For example, most browsing applications show notifications when a user is about to enter a potentially dangerous website. Naturally, it may take time until cyber security specialists discover such sites and until they are added on to the suspicious websites lists, but it is still worth it. Updating your browser could also shield your system from various malicious applications that might try to get in while exploiting vulnerabilities, which are often patched with new updates.
No doubt, one of the best ways to protect yourself against phishing scams whether they would be Game of Thrones related or not is to know how to spot them. The problem is that pop-ups or other messages leading to phishing websites is not the only way users can be exposed to them. Phishing scams can also appear in your email’s inbox. Thus, we recommend learning how to spot email scams, and probably the best free tool to do so is the Google’s Can You Spot When You're Being Phished quiz.
Another thing we can offer is using Cyclonis Password Manager. You might imagine that a password manager is only for those who cannot remember their login credentials or want a tool that could log them into their accounts automatically. However, our application can do much more. For instance, it can help you understand when a site you think you have an account on is fake. As you see, even if the website looks identical in your eyes, Cyclonis will not let you log into it automatically, since it will recognize it as a different site. If you continue with inserting login information yourself, it will ask you whether you want to save it and knowing you already did, should make you realize something is wrong. To find out more about our password manager, continue reading here.
All in all, a chance to purchase merchandise representing favorite characters for low prices, or to win tickets to events said to be related to Game of Thrones might sound wonderful, but you should never let your guard down if you do not want to fall a victim to phishing scams. Of course, if you think you already have, we recommend changing compromised passwords and doing whatever else is necessary to make sure the information you were tricked into disclosing could not be misused.