Phishing e-mails get more and more ingenious. Here are some tips for recognizing phishing emails.
It has been a while, 14 February, Valentine. I don’t care about Valentine. Commercial nonsense. Pope Gelasius I, in the year 496 declared 14 February the day of Holy Valentine. Of course, it were the Americans who made some money (“It’s true”). From a commercial point of view emphasis was directed from anonymous love towards love. Valentine day is, since the mid 90, also a commercial success in Belgium and the Netherlands: gift shops, bookstores, lingerie shops and flower shops benefit from this. Book have been written, films made and songs sang: Be my Valentine. On Spotify you can find at least four songs with this title. Tim McMorris’ being the least least bad. A real romantic Tim. Only writes sweet love songs. “All I ever want is you. You’ve got my heart.” Be real man…!
Tuesday 14 February was a day like any other dat. Well, not. I have a daughter aged 5. Since the moment she can talk, she is in love, deeply in love with our neighbour boy, aged 21. Tough guy, scooter, cigarette nonchalant at his lips. A modern James Dean. He plays along. Rides together on the scooter. “Yes, I love you too”. I also have two sons. Ofcourse they, to boredom, they tell my daughter, “No, he really doesn’t love you!”. So when a boy in her class tolde my daughter that he had a crush on her…she told me that she was in doubt. Two is better than one. Right? And so, Valentine day starter a little stressful… My daughter had two make two love drawings.
Unsuspecting I went to work. Busy day. First a meeting about the progress of a start-up. Followed by an intake for a security assessment in the middle of Amsterdam. In between meetings a listen to my voicemail and look at my e-mail. I’m startled when I read the title of one of the mails. Erik, be my Valentine. The sender is a female client relation. To be honest, she is kind of hot. I’m in doubt. Delete the mail and pretend I didn’t receive anything? My curiosity gets the upper hand. I open the mail.
The message starts with the first couplet of my favourite poet, Arthur Miller. The couples has been slightly altered. “Everything just happened wrong. I’ll do that, sometimes. A movie set is like a ship, I guess. Some are happy, some not. I’ll skip the party with you. I’ve seen enough, and I’m feeling kind of rough.” Brings back memories. To read more I have to click on a link. I get a message that I should install a special reader form Hallmark to read the e-card. I click ‘ok’. A pop-up appears. I have to enter my Apple ID and password. Nothing happens. Strange.
Behind me, a colleague asks, “Erik will you be joining us?”. Yes, yes. I’m coming. Quickly I resume business and forget about the love mail. Until last week. Spring break. Bad weather. The kids want to rent a movie. I want to order a movie via Apple TV. Before doing so, I check my credit. I freak out. Over the past weeks my Apple ID was used to order movies, games and music. A couple of hundred dollars in total. Be my Valentine. I’m ashamed. Quickly a look-up the love mail. “@#$%^&”, why didn’t I notice? When I look at the sender I see a vague address. The message appears to be from Hallmark. It only sais Hallmark. How come the message was so personal? And how did they know the name of the female client? Of course, a recent item on our website. I congratulate her with the ISO 27001 certificate…be my Valentine.
Phishing e-mails get more and more ingenious. Here are some tips for recognizing phishing emails: