Avoiding the “tabnabbing” scam


April is Digital Spring Cleaning month and while you’re clicking and tapping your devices, the BBB is reminding to watch out for online scammers.

“It’s just unfortunate that we have bad people that you know, want to do bad things,” said Waynette Ditto, Library Director at Hewitt Public Library.

If you’ve ever had multiple tabs open at a time, you could be a victim of “tabnabbing.”

“The fact that a person, once they open a tab they believe that it’s going to stay exactly how it is, but then it changes on them,” said Jeremy McCormick, Professor at the Computer Information System’s Department at McLennan Community College.

Say you have multiple tabs open, scammers will target an inactive tab then change the site you’re on to another familiar website.

“So that they go in, put in their credentials and then those credentials are captured,” said McCormick.

Then change happens in a blink of an eye.

“It relies on someone’s memory or visual cue of seeing that icon change to say that it’s Gmail even though you didn’t open Gmail,” said McCormick.

“I feel like we are protected, as much as you can be,” said Ditto.

Thousands visit the Hewitt Public Library each month to use their 23 free computers, they have software protection on all of them including the free WIFI they offer.

“I’m always on the lookout for new things that are popping up and we try to take a proactive instead of a reactive approach to security,” said Ditto.

Even with security, professionals say all web browsers can be affected by this scam.

“The only one that I know of that has a control for it is Firefox, they have an account protection add on that they’ve been working on that can protect against this, but as far as Chrome,k or Edge or Internet Explorer, as well as Firefox if it doesn’t have the add on they are all vulnerable to this problem,” said McCormick.

At home, make sure you’re aware of what tabs you have open, don’t keep too many open at a time and check the URL when you are logging into accounts.

“If you don’t have a Gmail tab open or whatever tab you find open, just close that tab and open up a new one if you’re going to login to something,” said McCormick.

As of now, there’s no concrete solution for this scam, except being aware at all times.

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