Phishing scam reaches Rockwell, Swaledale

An email phishing scam designed to hack Gmail accounts surfaced across the country last week, even affecting parts of rural Cerro Gordo County.

The scam sent out emails to a reported 1 million Gmail users, according to CNNTech. The messages arrived in Gmail users’ inboxes, posing as an email from a known contact, and asked recipients to open an attached Google Doc file.

However, unlike regular Google Doc invitations, once opened, these phishing emails led to a malicious third-party site that requested users enter their account login information. Once a user provided their password, account information, personal data and contacts became accessible.

“I’d been gone for a few days and was in a hurry, and happened to click on the Google Doc,” said Rockwell Public Library Director Carla Dougherty, who received one of the phishing emails sent to the library’s public address on May 3.

The email was sent from a member of the Iowa Library Association that Dougherty frequently hears from, so she did not think anything of it when opening the message. Fortunately, Dougherty got suspicious, and did not provide account login information for the Google Doc after opening the email, which prevented the virus from downloading.

Read the full article in the May 18 edition of the papers.