You've heard of a "phishing email" before, right? Have you heard of a "phishing PDF"?
Now you have...because they're everywhere.
The number of phishing attacks using PDF files increased over 1000 percent between 2019 and 2020. They're now a whole new category of cyberattack, with over 5 million infected files floating throughout the Web. (Source: KnowBe4)
Why so much, so quickly? Because people are wising up to the email method of phishing.
Cybercriminals have some messed-up priorities, but they're not stupid. If one attack method starts to lose effectiveness, they'll switch methods. Anything for one more shot at profit/blackmail/chaos.
The infected PDF files use a few different tactics to trick you into clicking. The PDF may display:
- A phony CAPTCHA ("Click here to prove you're a human")
- A picture of a coupon you can "clip" by clicking
- An image of a video still with a Play "button" in the middle
If you click any of these, you're taken to a website which downloads malware onto your device immediately. Then you're in trouble.
To avoid these infected PDFs, take the same approach as you would a phishing email: If you receive a PDF you weren't expecting, don't open it.
They will try anything they can to get you to click. Delete the messages and you're OK.
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