PDFs have become omnipresent in our daily lives. So much so that we don’t care. And yet, some documents should not be opened.
PDF files received by email have become very common. A friend who sends us his RIB, little Sophie’s dance club who sends us the program of her next internship, the airline which encloses the plane ticket for the next family trip, or even the plumber’s bill who comes to repair the water leak. We all regularly receive PDFs, which can be opened from any mobile or PC. Besides, they are so omnipresent that we hardly worry about them. However, these digital documents have been the subject of certain scams. In the last months of 2023, Avast researchers observed cases of scams linked to PDF files. In total, more than 10 million cyberattacks have been neutralized and 4 million users around the world have escaped this well-established operating procedure.
Indeed, cybercriminals send an email purporting to come from a well-known company, such as Amazon or a bank, with the following message: “Your account has been blocked. You have the means to unlock it. If you do not do so within 24 hours, you will permanently lose access to your account.” And generally, it is when downloading attachments that we take the risk of downloading malware (or viruses) at the same time. Avast recalls that the feeling of urgency is often used to scare victims, encouraging them to act hastily, without thinking about the situation. So, even if technological tools can help protect themselves, users must remain vigilant and question the authenticity of the PDFs received.
Remember that other scams are more subtle with cybercriminals pretending to be Netflix. Via a simple message, using Netflix branding, they suggest a problem with your payment and ask you to update your details on a link. Once you click on the link, you are asked to enter your financial information, which is then collected by cybercriminals. It is therefore necessary to stay alert and be aware of the signs of phishing and scams.