When I first started Scamicide more than ten years ago, “things aren’t as bad as you think… they are far worse” was prominently featured toward the top of the first page of the blog and unfortunately, that statement appears to be true evidenced by the increased use by scammers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help them create more convincing and effective scams.
ChatGPT, Microsoft’s popular artificial intelligence chatbot can generate articles, essays, stories and more in response to simple text prompts. It also can create more sophisticated and effective spear phishing emails that are more likely to convince an unwary targeted victim to either provide personal information that can lead to identity theft, click on a link and download dangerous malware or fall for a scam. Phishing emails that have originated overseas in countries where English is not the primary language often could easily be recognized by their lack of proper grammar, syntax or spelling, however with AI those problems are solved for the scammer and their phishing emails will now be more difficult to recognize.
We are all familiar with phishing emails which are emails that attempt to lure you into providing personal information or clicking on malware infected links. Fortunately, however, phishing emails are often easy to recognize because they may not be addressed to us personally or involve a subject matter that doesn’t relate to us. Spear phishing emails, however, are specifically tailored to appeal to the particular victim. They often address you by name and deal with subjects or companies with which you are involved or have an interest. Now, those spear phishing emails pose the threat of being even more dangerous as scammers are starting to use AI to make them even more believable.
The best advice to avoid being a victim of a spear phishing email remains the same. B.S. Be skeptical. Following a zero trust protocol, you should never provide personal information or make a payment or click on a link in any email (or text message) unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate. Regardless of how legitimate it may appear, you should follow this rule.
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