Game of Thrones is back and so are the phishing scams which mainly include sites requesting personal information for marketing opportunities.
Game of Thrones is back and so are the phishing scams which mainly include sites requesting personal information for marketing opportunities.

‘GoT’ phishing scams to know

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 24, 2019

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The long night has ended. Game of Thrones fans crept out of the darkness on Monday, tuning into the latest and final season of the popular series.

Winter is coming, and a lot has changed since the series aired in 2011 - not to mention the plethora of phishing scams aimed at the one billion GoT enthusiasts.

While there have been many such deceptions, from malware via pirate torrent sites to phishing scams, Check Point Research recently came across the latest in this line of malicious activities bent on taking advantage of unsuspecting fans. One site uses the official branding of the show and poses as a legitimate competition for fans to win a special gift pack of GoT merchandise.

“But there is no such prize. Rather the site collects as many email and cellphone details as possible that could be used in future spamming campaigns. Since Game of Thrones is available in over 150 countries, the site can rack up quite a database,” said Check Point.

The research company said while many may claim to be able to tell the difference between a real site and a fake site, the use of well recognised and trusted brands is the preferred method for encouraging users that the impersonated email or website is trustworthy.

“The websites we observed using the Game of Thrones brand could be split into two main categories - legitimate or fraudulent websites.

“While both categories use the popularity of the mediaeval fantasy series to lure users in, their motivation differs. The legitimate websites include fan pages, online games or small shopping sites, looking for potential customers.

“The fraudulent websites on the other hand exploit the popularity of the brand to display ads, acquire personal information or convince the user to install an unwanted programme.

“They mainly include sites requesting personal information for marketing opportunities, and fake streaming sites, requesting the user to download a browser add-on and provide personal information, while no streaming content is displayed at the end of the process.”

How to avoid being a phishing victim

Think before you click. Clicking on links of trusted sites should be totally fine. Links that appear in random emails and instant messages, however, isn’t going to end well. Hovering over links that you are unsure of before clicking on them will tell you if they lead to where you’re expecting.

Make sure a site’s URL begins with “https” and there is a closed lock icon near the address bar.

Check the site’s domain name is the site you are expecting to visit and trust. If it is not, then you could be about to become the next victim of a phishing scam.

Make sure you have an advanced threat prevention solution such as Check Point’s SandBlast Agent zero-phishing protection.

Germans have algorithm for Game of Throne deaths

Spoiler alert: Computer science students at the Technical University of Munich have developed an application that scours the internet for data on the popular Game of Thrones series, and uses an algorithm to predict which characters are most likely to survive to the end of its final season.

Project supervisor Guy Yachdav said yesterday that survival rates were predicted using longevity analysis similar to scientific studies used to examine the effects of medical treatments. He said that although the analysis “relies on data taken from the world of fantasy, the exact same artificial intelligence techniques are used in the real world”.

The results?

Daenerys Targaryen has the highest chance of survival, at 99%, and Bronn is the most likely to die next. Only time will tell, but the series is notoriously unpredictable. AP

The Saturday Star

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