Email Scams Are Still Depressingly Effective

It is the Year Of Our Lord two thousand and fourteen, but somehow, nearly half of all people on this email-infested landfill we call 'Earth' are still falling for simple phishing scams.


The stats come courtesy of a Google study, which looked into the success rate of 'manual hijacking' emails, which try and trick users into giving fake (but real-looking) websites their username and password. The scam is pretty simple: you get an email, with a link to a website.

When you click through (something that a frankly insane 45% of people seemingly do), you're presented with a realistic-looking imitation of a login page, where you enter all your sensitive information for nefarious hackers to gobble up. Here, people seem a little less gullible: only 14% of visitors to the fake pages actually submitted their info, meaning that the overall success rate is only around 5%. Given the scale at which email scams normally operate, though, that number is still cause for concern.

From there, Google says that hackers work quickly: 20% of compromised accounts are accessed within a half-hour, and often the hacker will change the password, then use your legitimate email account to spam your address list.

Google's tips for avoiding scammage are exactly what you'd expect: don't open suspicious links, and if you're in doubt, visit the website via a URL typed into your web browser, rather than following the link. Oh, and set up 2-factor authentication and a recovery phone number while you're at it. [Google via Huffington Post]


I didn't realize we were in the year 20,014 A.D.