Weekly Tip! Homoglyph and Unicode Phishing Scams

Weekly Tip! Homoglyph and Unicode Phishing Scams

You may be wondering what homoglyphs and Unicodes are. Homoglyphs are letters or characters that look similar. For example, the character “e” looks similar to the character “ė”. Unicode is a unique code assigned to characters so that any platform or program can understand them. For example, the Unicode for “e” is U+0065, and the Unicode for “ė” is U+0117. Now, cybercriminals are taking advantage of homoglyphs and Unicodes in phishing emails to imitate legitimate organizations.

In a recent scam, cybercriminals send you an email that uses homoglyphs and Unicode to offer you a fake promotion. The email includes a link to log in to receive your promotion. For example, to make the email look more legitimate, cybercriminals could send the email using “N□ėt□fli□ⅹ.com” as the sender. The □ symbol indicates a Unicode character that is not supported in your internet browser, but your browser will automatically omit these unsupported characters when displaying text. In this example, the sender's email address would display as "Nėtfliⅹ.com". If you don’t notice the spoofed domain and enter your login credentials, cybercriminals can access your account and steal your sensitive information.

Follow the tips below to stay safe from homoglyph and Unicode scams:
- Even if the sender’s email address appears to be from a trusted domain, the email could be fake. This technique can be used to impersonate any organization, brand, or even a person.
- When you receive an email, stop and look for red flags. For example, watch out for text with odd spacing or characters that look strange.
- Never click a link in an email that you aren’t expecting. If the email claims that you need to log in to your account, log in to the organization’s website directly to verify any offers or promotions.

The KnowBe4 Security Team
    • Related Articles

    • Weekly Tip! Clone Phishing Scams

      Organizations often use email to send important information to their customers. If an organization sends out an email that’s missing information, they may send you a follow-up email. Now, cybercriminals are using a technique called “clone phishing” ...
    • Weekly Tip! Google Translate Phishing Scams

      Google Translate is a free service that you can use to translate text from one language to another. Since Google Translate is a Google product, many people view it as a sign that a webpage is trustworthy. Now, cybercriminals are spoofing Google ...
    • Weekly Tip! Blank Image Phishing Scams

      Most email providers have security filters that check emails for malicious links or attachments. You may feel like you can rely on these filters and, as a result, trust that emails sent to your inbox are safe. Unfortunately, cybercriminals can take ...
    • Weekly Tip! Healthcare Reimbursement Phishing Scams

      When you request a reimbursement from your healthcare provider, it may be completed through a third-party payment processor. These payment processors often offer direct deposit payments so you can get reimbursed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, ...
    • Weekly Tip! Watch Out for Bank Phishing Scams

      Many people see email as a convenient and effective way to receive information. Popular banks have even started using email as a primary method of communication to send account updates to their customers. Now, cybercriminals are imitating banks in ...