What the Tech? FBI Issues Warning about Cyber Attacks

By JAMIE TUCKER Consumer Technology Reporter

A warning from the FBI, cyber attacks are setting records both in the number of complaints and the amount of money being lost by victims.

The bureau said in 2021 it received 847,376 complaints which is more than 2,300 per day. It represents a 7% increase from 2020. The attacks also took more than $6.9 billion from victims.

Ransomware, business e-mail compromises, and criminal use of cryptocurrency top the list of most common attacks but it also includes increases in the number of attacks involving identity theft, personal data breaches, phishing, and smishing scams.

One of the more interesting takes from the report is how bad actors have begun using Zoom and other virtual meeting platforms. According to the report, one such attack is carried out by a bad actor who downloads a photo of a CEO, compromises their email address, and calls for an employee meeting over Zoom.

The cybercriminal states he is having trouble with his microphone and will need to enter his directives over chat. Later instructing an employee to initiate a wire transfer to a client that turns out to be bogus.

The FBI states that a company employee in Memphis, TN carried out one of those directives in the amount of $198,000 to an account in Nigeria.

Hospitals and agri-businesses are being frequently targeted with ransomware according to the FBI.

Another common cyber-attack is carried out by calling a victim on the phone and representing themselves as being from tech support or Amazon to handle a problem with the computer or a shipment. The bad actor instructs the victim to go to their computer and begin entering characters in a box that appears for commands.

If the victim enters those commands, the cybercriminal can take control of the computer to install malware or ransomware or can steal information.

Here are a few tips to protect yourself:

● Follow up on any directive for wire transfers by calling the supervisor on the phone.
● Don’t click links in emails you’re not expecting. Even if it is from someone you possibly know, call the sender and ask before you open it.
● Don’t follow directions from someone asking you to type anything on your computer.
● Remember, anyone can disguise their identity online. Even if they send a photo, they may not be who they say they are.

If you feel you’ve been the victim of a cyber-crime, contact the FBI’s cyber-crime investigative division at 1-800-CALL-FBI.


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