IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

People can’t resist opening LinkedIn phishing emails

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

An @ sign on a fish hook

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

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

Activation playbook: Deliver data that powers impactful, game-changing campaigns

Bringing together data and technology to drive better business outcomes

Free Download

In unpredictable times, a data strategy is key

Data processes are crucial to guide decisions and drive business growth

Free Download

Achieving resiliency with Everything-as-a-Service (XAAS)

Transforming the enterprise IT landscape

Free Download

What is contextual analytics?

Creating more customer value in HR software applications

Free Download

Recommended

What is hacktivism?
hacking

What is hacktivism?

27 May 2022
Mastering endpoint security implementation
Security

Mastering endpoint security implementation

18 May 2022
The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update
Whitepaper

The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update

12 May 2022
Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils fastest storage architecture in company history
Server & storage

Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils fastest storage architecture in company history

4 May 2022

Most Popular

16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

13 May 2022
Linux-based Cheerscrypt ransomware found targeting VMware ESXi servers
ransomware

Linux-based Cheerscrypt ransomware found targeting VMware ESXi servers

26 May 2022
Open source packages with millions of installs hacked to harvest AWS credentials
hacking

Open source packages with millions of installs hacked to harvest AWS credentials

24 May 2022