Yesterday, I received the following text message on my iPhone.
There’s a couple of things that give me pause here.
- The sender assumes I have a phone with a web browser so either they’re taking a random guess, or they know I have an iPhone
- The URL will probably confuse most people.
I don’t have any studies to back this up, but I think it’s fair to say that most people don’t know how URLs work, much less what the most important portion of a URL is.
The first thing you see in the above text message is the www.apple.com and that’s the least important part. However, the average user sees apple.com and assumes incorrectly that the message is from Apple. The most important part is the todayswinners.info — that is the ultimate destination that this spammer is wanting me to go to.
This text message is doing something called phishing and it’s goal is to trick you into giving them your information. I didn’t click the link, so I don’t know what specific information they’re trying to extract from me, but that’s their goal.
Unfortunately, it’s not going away anytime soon and now that I’ve received my first text spam message, I’m sure this is but the first of many I can hope to receive. I’ve already added my number to the Do Not Call List over a year ago, but that’s not going to stop this kind of activity.
How To Protect Yourself
The only way to protect yourself from a phishing scam is to know what to look for. I highly recommend taking the OpenDNS Phishing Quiz and see how you score. I just took the test and was surprised by some of the samples. It’s a good way to see just how clever phishers are getting these days.
If you want to take extra steps, you can also choose to use OpenDNS on your home network. One of OpenDNS’ features is that they block phishing sites among other things. It’s free for home use and it’s what I use on my home network. I’ve been using them for a couple of years now and have been very pleased.
There’s a simple guide to setting up OpenDNS on your computer, or router at use.opendns.com that gives you step-by-step instructions.