HBO, Netflix, Twitch, and YouTube Warn About an Increase in Scams

HBO, Netflix, Twitch, and YouTube Warn About Increased Scams

Yesterday, Forbes published the list of the best-paid actors of 2020. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson tops it with total earnings of just under $90 million. You might be wondering why we're posting these statistics on this website. Well, it's because most of the paychecks these actors earned were issued by Netflix.

The lockdown resulted in a lot of people who were sat home with nothing to do, and this, unsurprisingly, led to a massive surge of subscribers for the streaming service. Speaking of people who have nothing to do, the cybercriminals also noticed the shift, and they decided to capitalize on it. In fact, the growth in the number of phishing attacks aimed at Netflix users was even greater than the number of new subscribers.

The phishers are crazy about Netflix login credentials

Davey Winder, a Forbes contributor, wanted to learn more about the trends in the phishing attacks against companies like Netflix, which is why he contacted threat intelligence firm Webroot and asked for some details. The numbers were quite impressive.

He was told that between February and March, the number of Netflix phishing URLs detected by Webroot's systems grew by a whopping 525%. When he asked for more recent information, Webroot's experts analyzed the data between March and July and compared it to the stats registered during the same period of 2019. The year-over-year growth in Netflix-themed phishing URLs was a whopping 646%.

Webroot dug up some data on the proven phishing attacks as well. At 60% year-over-year growth for the month of July, the number isn't as impressive as the ones quoted above, but it is still pretty remarkable.

It's not just Netflix

Netflix is far from the only streaming service provider to be hit with a wave of new subscribers because of the Coronavirus crisis. HBO, one of Netflix's biggest competitors, also saw a wave of new users, and, not surprisingly, there was also a surge in the phishing activity targeting them. At 525%, the growth in the number of suspicious HBO-themed URLs registered between February and March was exactly the same as the one registered by Netflix.

Gamers and esports enthusiasts were also targeted. Shortly after the lockdown began, Webroot saw an increase of 337% in the number of phishing URLs targeting users of popular video game streaming platform Twitch.

This rise pales into insignificance, however, when compared to the growth in the number of YouTube-themed phishing URLs. It stood at more than 3,000%, and although it sounds quite shocking at first, when you think about it, you'll see that it's not really that surprising. The account you use at the world's favorite time-waster is your Google account, and through it, the chaos hackers can wreak is much more significant.

Phishing attacks become more sophisticated

All this is bad news for the users of all the streaming platforms mentioned above. Webroot's experts told Forbes that recent attacks are much more sophisticated than they used to be. The crooks have been taking grammar lessons, and the spelling mistakes that we've come to associate with these types of attacks are now gone. The scenarios crooks create are more believable as well, which means that users should be even more careful than usual.

August 12, 2020

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