Cybercrime

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Social Media Scams Sharply on the Rise

Researchers estimate that social media scams have climbed to 437,165, which is almost double the number from 2016. Attackers in these campaigns employ various techniques, but all are designed to steal financial information, sensitive data, distribute malware and take over accounts. Most use a very personal approach where scammers research the personal information of victims using public information, membership lists or groups, "liked" content on social media, timeline information, and demographics before making their approach.

4 Reasons Your Child Might Want to Become a Hacker

Did you know that not all “hackers” are criminals? Many organizations are looking for white-hat hackers -- people who break down malicious code -- to help defend against cyberattacks, writes malware researcher Amanda Rousseau in a recent article in Teen Vogue. She offers four reasons why students, especially girls, should consider this career path, including the high demand for these jobs and the opportunity to positively affect the world and make a difference in people’s lives.

Online Predators – Get the Facts

Media stories about online predators make for sensationalized press, playing on parental fears, but how worried should you be? Overall statistics show that unwanted sexual solicitation is down but the most important thing is to arm yourself with facts about the issue and solutions if you suspect your child is, or could become, a victim. Common Sense Media recently took up the topic in an article entitled The Facts about Online Predators Every Parent Should Know. The article outlines the facts and strategies for handling your concerns about online predators.

Would You Pay a Ransom for Your Data?

A recent survey administered by Carbon Black looks at consumers’ responses to ransomware, and you may find the results surprising. The study found that if hacked, 52% of consumers would shell out a ransom for their data, and 12% would pay $500 or more. It was also found that consumers are less trusting of retailers with their data than they are of banks and health care providers. Furthermore, the majority of consumers believe the responsibility is on the individual businesses to keep their data safe, ahead of cybersecurity companies/cybersecurity software vendors, software providers (Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc.), and government organizations (FBI, NSA, CIA, etc.).

Tips for Guarding Against Ransomware

A report from Kaspersky Lab has revealed that mobile ransomware attacks increased globally during the first quarter of 2017 by 253%, evidenced by the recent WannaCry attack, and with the US being hit the hardest. Four ways users can better protect themselves are outlined in an article on the TechRepublic site, and includes advice such as doing regular scans on devices to check for infection and never entering personal information into a website that seems at all suspicious. Additional tips for protecting yourself were also recently discussed in an article in the Tech Section of The New York Times entitled How to Protect Yourself From Ransomware Attacks.

Avoiding a Dangerous Scam on Facebook – “Like” Farming

It’s not an uncommon sight as you’re scrolling through your Facebook news feed: a friend shares a heartbreaking photo, accompanied by a post that pleads with users to “like,” “comment” or “share” in order to raise money or awareness for a person in need. But scammers who use “like-farming” tactics can take advantage of a Facebook user’s interaction to either collect and sell information about that user or use it as a gateway to collecting more personal information — like passwords or credit card numbers.

Though it’s sometimes difficult to determine which posts are real and which are fake, there are a few simple clues that these “like-farming” posts have in common:

  • They claim someone has cancer or another serious disease and needs money for surgery.
  • They claim Facebook “has decided to help” by donating a certain amount of money for “likes,” “comments” or “shares.”
  • They typically ask a Facebook user to comment “Amen” at the end of the post.

So, next time you see a post with a heart-wrenching photo that catches your eye, look for these signs before responding. And if you suspect the post is a scam, report it to Facebook immediately.

Watch Out for Tax Identity Theft

Identity theft has been called the “crime of the 21st century.” When your identity is stolen, there are so many potential issues to deal with (changing passwords, closing accounts, dealing with fraudulent charges, placing fraud alerts with the credit bureaus) that you may forget about potential tax fraud. Armed with your personal information, identity thieves can file a fraudulent tax return in your name and receive a refund before you realize your information has been compromised. Sometimes taxpayers are unaware of the breach until they have problems filing their taxes. What do you do if you fall victim to tax-related identity theft? There are several steps to follow in the article Beware of Tax Identity Theft if you believe you are being targeted.

Watson to the Rescue?

IBM is looking to its supercomputer Watson to fight cybercrime using its deep learning techniques. The company recently announced that 40 organizations have joined the Watson Cyber Security beta program, which is "learning the nuances of security research findings and discovering patterns and evidence of cyberattacks and threats that could otherwise be missed." As more organizations take part in the program, the increased amount of collected security data will further the intelligence of the system, evolving and improving current defense strategies.

Are You a Ransomware Victim? Please Report it!

Victims of ransomware attacks should report such incidents to their local FBI office or the Internet Crime Complaint Center to allow the FBI to investigate and understand the threat, the agency wrote in a public service announcement recently. The announcement cites the reasons ransomware victims don't report incidents to law enforcement, and offers ways to reduce the risk of cyberattacks.

Safe Social Media Use a Challenge in Education

Social media is one of the biggest challenges for cybersecurity in the education sector, according to a report from Wombat Security Technologies. The report found that education professionals missed about one-third of assessment questions related to safe social media use. This serves as a good reminder for parents that they should take an active part in helping kids stay safe online and in using social media properly, and not entirely depend on schools to cover these kinds of topics.

Looking Critically at GoFundMe Medical Pleas

Online crowd-funding is an effective way to get the word out about people who are in desperate need of financial help, but do you know who is receiving the funding and the real circumstances of their situation? Steven Petrow lists some criteria you might think about before making a donation in a recent column on the USA Today site. The list includes donating to those you know and trust, understanding that you will never know exactly what the money will be used for, and knowing these types of contributions are not tax deductible.

Should You Pay a Ransomware Hacker?

If someone locked down your pacemaker what would you pay to regain control? What about paying a hacker to relinquish control of a plane’s cockpit? This is the future of ransomware writes Carl Herberger of Radware, a security solutions company. He also contends that if companies and individuals continue to pay hackers who lock down their computers with ransomware, they will continue to be attacked. Instead of paying, Herberger writes, those who "take steps to be aware of attacks and raise the proper defenses and fail-safes are less likely to be targets" and suggests some ideas for taking those kinds of precautions.

Time To Delete Those Ancient Online Accounts

Recently, as many as 360 million MySpace accounts were offered for sale in a 33-gigabyte online dump.

Competitors with Capabilities

The potential for a widespread cyberattack on the US by another country or a terrorist cell is a real fear for Adm. Michael Rogers, head of US Cyber Command.

Cheating in Online Classes

The popularity of online courses has led to a new market for online cheaters

Technology and Human “Detectives” Fuel PayPal Fraud Detection

Payments-processor PayPal relies on complex algorithms to check transactions and spot fraud.

Hackers and Your Personal Information – Assessing Your Risk

Do you think your personal information may have been exposed to hackers? You are not alone. Half of American adults had their personal information exposed to hackers last year.

Hackers and Hospital Networks

A new trend in cybercrime is exploiting the increased use of connected digital devices in medical settings.

10 Million Passwords Released Online in the Name of Security

Security researcher Mark Burnett posted a database of 10 million usernames and passwords in early Februa

Erasing Data For Good

As your digital devices begin to become outdated, you may consider gifting, donating or selling them.

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