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

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

How to be an MSP: Seven steps to success

Building your business from the ground up

Download now

The smart buyer’s guide to flash

Find out whether flash storage is right for your business

Download now

How MSPs build outperforming sales teams

The definitive guide to sales

Download now

The business guide to ransomware

Everything you need to know to keep your company afloat

Download now

Recommended

eBay, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google were phishers’ top targets in 2020
phishing

eBay, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google were phishers’ top targets in 2020

20 Apr 2021
Cisco to acquire threat intelligence provider Kenna Security
Acquisition

Cisco to acquire threat intelligence provider Kenna Security

14 May 2021
What is the Computer Misuse Act?
Policy & legislation

What is the Computer Misuse Act?

14 May 2021
Hackers use open source Microsoft dev platform to deliver trojans
Security

Hackers use open source Microsoft dev platform to deliver trojans

14 May 2021

Most Popular

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans
flexible working

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans

6 May 2021
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

29 Apr 2021
How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

30 Apr 2021