While cybercriminals create new malware strains or look for software vulnerabilities to exploit, other criminal minds happily rely on an old, yet effective, trick: phishing scams. Such scams persist because people still fall for fraudulent email that asks recipients to reveal personal information or download an attachment containing malware.
Although hackers continue to develop new viruses and bug exploits, the most effective weapon in their arsenal is a simple email. All a would-be cybercriminal has to do is write a convincing message (or pretend to be a trustworthy entity) to persuade a victim to download a malware-ridden file or surrender their personal information.
With as much as we write about sophisticated malware and security breaches, sometimes the most effective attacks are the ones that prey on human error. In the most recent case, all it took was an email with a perfect imitation of one of Google’s security screens.