A new type of phishing attack has been identified which targets a vulnerability in the current versions of Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Phishing attacks consist of an email sent to users that appears to come from a person or company they know and trust. The bogus email contains a link to a malicious website, and simply visiting the website may be enough to infect their computer. Users may also be tricked into entering passwords or other personal information, which the attacker can use or sell, causing further trouble for the victim.
Using a Spanish “G” or a Russian “T” or any other combination of international characters, attackers can build a domain that appears to be a trusted website, but is actually something else entirely. Currently Chrome and Firefox are the only browsers that automatically translate these addresses, but that doesn’t mean the feature and this associated vulnerability won’t appear in other browsers in the future.
This means that the previously useful tip of checking the address in the browser’s address bar may no longer be an accurate method of ensuring users are on the correct site. It also means that users need to be even more cautious about the links they click and how they get to the sites they use.
The takeaway from this is for users to recognize the importance of not clicking links in unsolicited emails. Even if the email appears to come from a known, trusted source, the link may not be legitimate.
If you receive an email from a company you do business with telling you to click a link and check your account, don’t use the link. Instead, open your browser and type the address to access your account. OR click on the link from your mobile device (phone, tablet, etc). These are the only ways you can ensure the site you’re visiting is the one you intended to visit.
Bear in mind that if you request an email from within one of your accounts (i.e., a password reset or request for information) and receive the email within a few minutes of the request, that is typically a fair indicator that the message is legitimate. But emails arriving from anywhere which you did not initiate should all be considered suspect and treated with caution.