People can’t resist opening LinkedIn phishing emails

Dodgy emails with “LinkedIn” in the subject line had an open rate of almost 50%

Phishing emails mentioning “LinkedIn” in their subject lines are the most likely to be opened by victims, according to new data from Atlas VPN.

Atlas VPN says that LinkedIn phishing emails had a 47% open rate in the third quarter of 2020, making them the most common social media scam for the third year running.

LinkedIn phishing emails used subject lines like "You appeared in new searches this week!", "People are looking at your LinkedIn profile", "Please add me to your Linkedin network" and "Join my network on LinkedIn."

Social media scams 

Atlas VPN also investigated other social media phishing emails, finding the second most commonly mentioned social media company was Twitter. These emails had subject lines like “Someone has sent you a direct message on Twitter!” and had 15% open rates. 

Facebook phishing emails rank third on the list with 12% open rates. An example of a typical Facebook scam is "Your friend tagged you in photos on Facebook”.

Scammers have also deceived users by sending emails saying they’ve received a new voicemail. Emails with "New voice message at 1:23AM" in their subject line had 8% open rates. 

Less commonly opened social media phishing emails warned recipients of security alerts. Emails with the subject line “Login Alert for Chrome on Motorola X” had 7% open rates. Phishing scams warning that “Someone may have accessed your account” had 6% open rates. 

General phishing scams

As well as researching the most common social media phishing emails, Atlas VPN also analyzed and ranked general phishing attacks. The most common general phishing email contained the subject line “Payroll Destruction Form” and had a 33% open rate. 

Related Resource

The State of Email Security 2020

Email security insights at your email perimeter, inside your organisation, and beyond

Download now

Cybercriminals have also taken advantage of the global coronavirus pandemic in their phishing campaigns. Emails with subjects mentioning COVID-19 and the pandemic had 32% open rates. 

Other general phishing emails contained the subject lines “Please review the leave law requirements” (12%), “Password Check Required immediately” (9%), “Vacation Policy Update” (7%) and “Scheduled Server Maintenance - No Internet Access” (7%).

Jake Moore, a security specialist at ESET, told IT Pro: “Phishing emails can far too often be glaringly obvious, but when threat actors use familiar platforms with friendly profile pictures to entice a victim, no wonder it has far more of a success rate.” 

“Ignoring an email, whether it’s phishing or not, is something most likely we have all done. But a message within a platform where there is more validation on offer in the means of an online CV and a photo of someone’s headshot just adds to the temptation to politely respond.” 

“Many people might not even realize that phishing messages communicate on multiple platforms in order to increase open rates and therefore, LinkedIn may just be the perfect conveyance for cybercriminals to send links and attachments.” 

Featured Resources

Four cyber security essentials that your board of directors wants to know

The insights to help you deliver what they need

Download now

Data: A resource much too valuable to leave unprotected

Protect your data to protect your company

Download now

Improving cyber security for remote working

13 recommendations for security from any location

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

Recommended

What are biometrics?
Security

What are biometrics?

27 Nov 2020
Black Friday's best antivirus deals
Security

Black Friday's best antivirus deals

27 Nov 2020
Veritas Access Appliance with IBM Spectrum® Protect
Server & storage

Veritas Access Appliance with IBM Spectrum® Protect

27 Nov 2020
Ransomware protection with Veritas NetBackup Appliances
Security

Ransomware protection with Veritas NetBackup Appliances

27 Nov 2020

Most Popular

46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach
Security

46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach

13 Nov 2020
macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks
operating systems

macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks

16 Nov 2020
Huawei Mate 40 Pro 5G review: A tragically brilliant Mate
Mobile Phones

Huawei Mate 40 Pro 5G review: A tragically brilliant Mate

26 Nov 2020