Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Top 10 Phishing Email Subject Lines

If you get an email from a stranger wanting to join your LinkedIn network, you should think twice before clicking on it.

The same goes for emails with LinkedIn subject lines like “See Your Profile Views,” “Join my network,” or “Account Deactivation Request.”

Emails with LinkedIn subject lines are the number one phishing scam, according to a leading cybersecurity source.

“Last quarter, more than half of all social media-related phishing emails imitated LinkedIn messages,” says the anti-phishing site KnowBe4. “This trend has been increasing quarter over quarter, likely because there is a perception that they would be legitimate coming from a professional network.”

Each quarter, KnowBe4 compiles the 10 Most Clicked-On Email Phishing Subject Lines, based on data from millions of user accounts.

Read their latest rankings here.

LinkedIn Is Number One Phishing Bait

Social media sites, with LinkedIn leading the way, are becoming the most popular phish bait for cybercriminals. According to this site, social media phishing attacks are up more than 70 percent.

 “It feels good to ‘join my network’ or connect with someone in some way – that’s why social media phishing attacks are so successful,” says Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4. “Alerts containing security-related warnings come unexpectedly and can cause feelings of alarm. Messages such as ‘a new message’ or ‘a friend tagged a photo of you’ can make you feel special and entice you to click.”

It’s a big problem, says Sjouwerman, because many LinkedIn users have their accounts tied to their corporate email addresses.

“Such a high percentage increases corporate risk of a phishing attack, ransomware breach or other social engineering-related threat,” he writes.

After social media-related messages, subject lines related to password management were highest on the phishing list.

Top-Clicked Social Media Related Subjects in Q1 2019 

  1. LinkedIn: Profile Views
  2. LinkedIn: Join my network
  3. LinkedIn: Add me to your network
  4. LinkedIn: Deactivation Request
  5. Login alert for Chrome on Motorola Moto X
  6. 55th Anniversary and Free Pizza
  7. Your Friend Tagged a Photo of You
  8. Facebook Password Reset Verification
  9. Your password was successfully reset
  10. New voice message at 1:23AM

Top 10 Most-Clicked General Email Subjects in Q1 2019

  1. Password Check Required Immediately
  2. De-activation of [[email]] in Process
  3. Urgent press release to all employees
  4. You Have A New Voicemail
  5. Back Up Your Emails
  6. Revised Vacation & Sick Time Policy
  7. UPS Label Delivery, 1ZBE312TNY00015011
  8. Please Read Important from Human Resources
  9. [[manager_name]] sent you a file on Box
  10. Important Message from [[company_name]] Admin

Most Common “In the Wild” Attacks

  1. eBay: [Important] Your account
  2. Google: Your photo has been successfully published
  3. Outlook/Microsoft: You're invited to share this calendar
  4. Secure Your Btc Wallet Now
  5. Amazon: Account Refund Verification Status
  6. Unusual sign-in activity
  7. Check Sent
  8. LinkedIn: LinkedIn Password Reset
  9. Warning: Unauthorized Software Detection
  10. Microsoft: You’ve been assigned a task!



About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

Related Posts