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COVID-19: Scammers Impersonate Popular Streaming Sites, Unsafe Clicks Rise 55%

The cybersecurity firm Mimecast has found more than 700 scam websites impersonating the world’s most popular video streaming services, such as Netflix and Disney+, between the 6th April and Easter, according to the Guardian.

“These spoof websites often lure unsuspecting members of the public in with an offer of free subscriptions to steal valuable data. The data harvested includes names, addresses and other personal information, as well as stealing credit card details for financial gain,” Carl Wearn, the head of e-crime at Mimecast said.

The cybersecurity company warned that counterfeit sites can look very convincing, though many are poorly designed and have language errors.

According to Mimecast’s analysis of cyberthreats, over the first 100 days of the COVID-19 pandemic, malicious cyber activity increased by 33.5% and the number of unsafe clicks rose by over 55%.

Mimecast said that from January to April 2020 “malicious actors shifted tactics to focus on high-volume spam and impersonation attacks”.

“We have seen a dramatic rise in suspicious domains impersonating a variety of streaming giants for nefarious purposes,” Wearn said.

To avoid being scammed by a fake streaming service website, Mimecast has recommended that users double check URLs and other links, and only update usernames and passwords on trusted sites. If you receive an email from a supposed streaming service offering a lucrative deal, be extra cautious.

This comes as usage of video streaming sites have increased dramatically across the globe. In the first quarter of the year Netflix registered 59 million new downloads. Disney+ reached 50 million global subscribers this month, and only launched operations in November 2019.

In Australia, Disney+ has managed to attract some 1.8 million subscribers after its first three months in the market. Netflix has 12.2 million Australian subscribers, according to Roy Morgan.


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