Google Calendar users become victim of phishing scam

Cyber security experts have warned of a strange scam that is finding its way into personal Google Calendars.

According to Kaspersky Lab, the phishing scam works by putting an event into Google Calendar that says something like: “There is money to claim in your name” or “You’ve received a cash reward”. If clicked on, users become at risk of a cyber-attack where personal details can be taken through the links attached to the event.

Events on the calendar come as pop-ups, which if people click on, can lead them to entering their credit details in order to “claim their prize”.

Phishing in emails

People are used to receiving phishing emails and often know how to report and avoid these. But, these fake happenings on Google Calendar match up to a person’s schedule, making it confusing for those following the online timetable.

In a statement, Maria Vergelis, security researcher at Kaspersky said: “The ‘calendar scam’ is a very effective scheme, as most people have become used to receiving spam messages from emails or messenger apps.

“But this may not be the case when it comes to the Calendar app, which has a main purpose to organise information rather than transfer it.” She continued: “So far, the sample we’ve seen contains text displaying an obviously weird offer, but as it happens, every simple scheme becomes more elaborate and trickier with time. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to avoid such a scam.”

How to avoid this scam in Google Calendar

The way to avoid this is to stop others from adding events to a schedule. This is done on a computer or laptop by going to ‘Event settings’ on the calendar. The link for ‘Automatically add invitation’ should show. This should be switched to ‘No, only show invitations to which I’ve responded’ to avoid unwanted events from being added.

To further avoid problems, ‘Show declined events’ should also not be selected. This can be found under the View Options sections.

Kaspersky noted that this type of cyber-crime had been happening to people throughout May.

Google Calendar was met with other problems this week when it stopped working for users across the world with no explanation as to why. People were faced with the message ‘Not Found. Error 404’ when trying to use the app.

The Online timetable is now back working.

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