How to Identify Phishing Emails

On this week’s episode of Ctbersafe with Sisi Nerd, we’re looking at how to identify Phishing emails.

Phishing, the act of impersonating a trusted entity in electronic communication, isn’t going away anytime soon. The ease of use, almost universal ubiquity of Email communication, and endless possibility of potential targets have made Email Phishing a mainstay of cybercriminals.

While phishing remains constant, the method and tricks used by cybercriminals will always be evolving. Despite this, the fundamental psychological principles will always remain the same.

Hence, conditioning yourself psychologically is your first line of defense. Here are a few psychological principles to keep in mind whenever you’re dealing with Email whether through a PC or Mobile Device.

  1. Scarcity

This is the principle that if something is made less available or is scarce, the value increases. Cybercriminals can use this in phishing Emails, for example, offering a well sought-after item at a reduced price with the heading “Only two left to go.” By getting their targets to focus on the perceived scarcity of the item, they can get them to take actions they would normally be skeptical about doing.

2. Urgency

This is the principle that if a time constraint is applied, people are more likely to act. Just imagine receiving an email from your bank telling you that the card you intend to use for some urgent shopping will be locked down in the next 24 hours unless you perform a series of actions or click a link. Most people would comply, and that is why using urgent language in phishing emails is a favorite of cybercriminals.

3) Authority

This is the principle that people are more likely to perform an action if it comes from someone in a position of authority. Imagine an accountant receiving an email from his CEO asking him to transfer money to a certain account. He is more likely to perform this action since it is coming from the CEO as opposed to another colleague. This is why cybercriminals love to impersonate people in authority.

We ask that whenever you access an Email client whether on a mobile device or PC that you have these psychological principles at the back of your mind. Learn to approach all emails with all your mental faculties fully engaged as opposed to being distracted. This will help you quickly spot when something fishy is at play.

Watch this week’s episode to get more tips on how to spot phishing emails.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B8tO4GhgH4&feature=youtu.be

How to check if you have been compromised.

Data breaches are becoming more prevalent as cybercriminals continue to innovate and scale up their attacks. A prominent cybersecurity firm was breached showing that no entity is beyond being compromised.

Given the current state of affair, the onus is on users to monitor their online accounts to know when a breach occurs so they can quickly remediate the situation.

The good news is that there are free online tools that can help notify you if your personal information has been exposed on the web. Below are a few tips you should implement immediately:

Set up an alert for your name and other personal details.

Setting up an alert for your name or email will let you know when it is has been mentioned on the web. You can use either Google Alerts or Talkwalker for this, both are free and will send you a notification via email.

Set up an email breach monitor

This will notify you when you email is involved in any future breach. You can do this via Firefox Monitor, all you have to do is sign up to use the service.

Our founder, Confidence Staveley shares some more tips on what to do if you have been involved in a breach, watch the video and don’t forget to subscribe to the Youtube Channel.

How To Use Telegram Securely

After WhatsApp, Telegram is the next most popular messaging application. Due to its ability to set up groups with large numbers, scammers have set up shop and are using the applications to promote various scams. Below are a few ways you can use the application securely:

Enable Two Step Verification
Just like WhatsApp, Telegram gives you the ability to enable two step verification. This will require you to provide a password in addition to the default SMS code option before you can access your Telegram account. In the event that you lose your phone or your sim card get hijacked, your attackers will not be able to access your account. Also, make sure to set up a recovery email should you forget your password.

  1. Enable the Passcode Feature

The feature help locks your account and makes sure your messages are private. With this in place, even if a someone is able to compromise your account they will need the passcode to read your messages.

For more security and privacy tips watch the video below:

OmegaPro: A Crypto/Forex Multi-level Marketing Scam.

Our intelligence team caught wind of a new investment platform making the rounds called OmegaPro. They have been actively holding seminars in different parts of the country and claim to have a host of trading instruments in which investors can trade on and get a profit.

Also, they have a referral program where you can earn by referring people to the platform.

This sort of referral system is frequently used by Ponzi schemes. This is the first red flag we noticed, and without a financial report, it is hard to determine if they make money from trading or from getting more people to join the platform.

At the bottom of their website, OmegaPro states its address is “Griffith Corporate Centre Kingstown St. Vincent And The Grenadines”

Doing a search for “OmegaPro Ltd” on opencorporates returned three companies, with none of the companies bearing the address listed on its website. Two of the companies were based in the UK and one in Belize, a country categorized by the US State Department as a Country/Jurisdiction of Primary Concern in respect of Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Looking at the source code for the website we found the same address and company name of OMEGAPRO SERVICES LTD in our company search on open corporates.

This address is not displayed on the website because it was hidden using an HTML coding technique.

A google search for the address “71-75, Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom” revealed that it is the current location of 1st formations which is a company that provides registration services for new limited companies online for clients from the UK and overseas. They also provide address services as stated on their website:

“1st Formations also provides a range of address services, including Registered Office and Service Addresses to keep your personal details off the public record. Furthermore, our Business Address Service allows you to use our prestigious address in Covent Garden, London for all of your business mail. This can help your company by establishing a presence in a prime business location, protecting your home address and developing an excellent corporate image.”

Pulling up the filling details of OmegaPro Services Ltd on opencorporates revealed that the SIC code of the business is 96.09

which means the company is licenced to carry out the following activities:

astrological and spiritualists’ activities
– social activities such as escort services, dating services, services of marriage bureaux
– pet care services such as boarding, grooming, sitting and training pets
– genealogical organisations
– activities of tattooing and piercing studios
– shoe shiners, porters, valet car parkers etc.
– concession operation of coin-operated personal service machines (photo booths, weighing machines, machines for checking blood pressure, coin-operated lockers etc.)

Notice that there is nothing among the above-listed activities which includes running a crypto, forex, or commodity investment platform. So we have a company that is registered by a formation agent with no physical office and operating an illegal investment scheme, this should be enough to set the alarm bells ringing.

Moving on, we noticed that on the OmegaPro website there is a link to an e-money firm called OMP Money Ltd which it claims to be in partnership with. The firm is registered in the UK and can distribute or redeem electronic money (e-money) and provide certain payment services on behalf of an e-money institution.

OMP Money Ltd operating address is listed as “No.1 Royal Exchange London EC3V 3DG UNITED KINGDOM.” Looking up this address on google we found that 466 other companies are listed as using the same address, which means this is a virtual office.

Digging into the companies records, we found that OMP Money Limited has three persons with significant control: Mr. Michael Shannon Sims, Mr Andreas Attila Szakacs, and Mr Dilawarjit Singh.

Of the three persons listed, Mr. Dilawarjit Singh has an interesting past. He is linked to a failed crypto mining multi-level marketing scheme called Omnia Tech.

The website scamgrinder says he has been working for years with Robert Velghe who has been described as a serial rip-off.

Singh & Velghe

Putting it all together, OmegaPro Ltd is not licensed to carry out the activities it is currently handling, tries to hide that it is operating from a virtual office, and is linked to people who have been involved in failed crypto multi-level marketing schemes. We advise that you do not get involved with this company or any of its affiliates.