Identifying fraudsters using cyrillic characters 

Cameron Chevet
Tuesday 12 March 2024

Cyrillic characters are based on the Greek alphabet and can look similar or almost identical to regular English characters. Fraudsters commonly use them to make malicious links and email addresses look more legitimate.  

An example is the Cyrillic ‘Ь’, which could be used instead of a ‘b’ to fool someone at a glance, so it is important to be vigilant and take steps to protect yourself. 

Examples: 

Legitimate: [email protected] 

Fraudulent: steve.j@Ьing.com (Note the Cyrillic “Ь” instead of the Latin “b”) 

Legitimate: www.google.com 

Fraudulent: www.gооgle.com  

In the second example, both appear identical. However, the second is fraudulent. Browser protections discussion in tip two would help detect this.   

If you receive a suspicious email or are unsure, please report it to [email protected].  

Protective Measures: 

  1.  Carefully inspect the URL or email address   

Hover over any links before clicking. If you are looking on a mobile phone and aren’t sure, open the email on your computer. Alternatively, you can browse to the website rather than clicking on any links.  

If you receive an unexpected email, it is important to examine the sender’s address closely.  

  1. Keep your computer and browser up to date

Many browsers have built-in protections against Cyrillic characters – running the latest version of your browser is an important step in protecting yourself.  

Please see our earlier blog post on the importance of updates here. Maintaining your computer, mobile devices, and any installed software is vital. 

  1. Browser extensions 

Browser extensions add another layer of defence. Browser extensions can proactively protect you from accidentally visiting known malicious sites.  

The University offers WithSecure antivirus and browser protections free to all staff and students for the duration of studies or contracts. Downloadable through Apps Anywhere.  

Using browser extensions such as WithSecure, users can reduce the risk of falling victim to all phishing scams including those that exploit Cyrillic characters. 

To stay informed on the latest security news, please follow the IT Services blog.  

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