The most likely “cyber attack” that your company will face will come in the form of an email. One of the most common forms of email attack is the business email compromise (BEC) and the most popular time of the year for the W-2 version of BEC is right now — tax season.
Read the full blog post to make sure you and your company are equipped with answers to:
• What is a W-2 BEC Attack?
• How Do Attackers Use the W-2 Information?
• Why Do So Many of These Attacks Happen During Tax Season?
• What Can You Do Now to Protect Your Company?
• What To Do if Your Company is Hit by this Attack?
The 2015 Anthem data breach affected 79 million people and was the largest health-care data breach in U.S. history. The affected consumers sued Anthem in a case that settled for a record $115 million. Now the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights has reached a settlement with Anthem for a record $16 million — an amount that is almost three times the next-largest OCR data breach settlement of $5.55 million.
While these numbers are interesting, what is the takeaway for business leaders?
It all started with an employee opening and responding to a phishing email:
Anthem discovered cyber-attackers had infiltrated their system through spear phishing emails sent to an Anthem subsidiary after at least one employee responded to the malicious email and opened the door to further attacks. (HHS Press Release)
Dear friends who keep talking about “hacked Facebook accounts”:
When there is an account that is pretending to be your account on Facebook (or other social media platforms) that is sending friend requests to others, in most cases, this does not mean that your account has been “hacked” (i.e., inappropriately accessed by someone other than you).
In most cases, nothing has happened to your account. Rather, someone is attempting to “clone” your account by making a new account that appears to be you by using your information and pictures. When this happens, your account has not been “hacked”!
If this happens to you, go to the profile pretending to be you and report it to Facebook. The pictures below show you how to do it.
Given all of the hysteria about this right now, just do not accept new request from people on Facebook immediately and let them sit for a while — give it a few days before accepting them because if the account is reported to Facebook and then taken down, the illegitimate friend request will disappear.
If you’re interested to learn more about the real “Facebook Hack”, you can listen to these radio segments where I discussed it:
Cybercriminals are using yet another new twist on the old email phishing attack: they email people claiming to have infected porn sites with malware that allowed them to take over the recipient’s webcam and record them sitting at their computer watching porn and if they don’t pay up, the video is going public. I discuss this new method of attack in the video above and you can learn more details about how they do it in this article: Don’t Fall for This Scam Claiming You Were Recorded Watching Porn
For people who know they have never watched porn on their computers, this probably isn’t too effective. For everyone else, this threat of public shaming can be a powerful motivation to comply with the extortion demand.
This is another example of what I have often described as shame hacking, the use, or threatened use, of purportedly hacked data for embarrassing or extorting people by threatening to expose such compromising data if they do not comply with the demands made of them.
Cybercriminals need shopping money for the Holidays and one of their favorite times to get yours is when you are shopping on #CyberMonday.
Use these tips to help stay #cybersecure while shopping online for #CyberMonday and at any other time:
Credit or debit? Use credit cards, not debit cards, for your online shopping. Debit cards are tied directly to your bank account so if there is a problem, your money is gone. With credit cards, it is borrowed money, plus, if you have a problem with the merchant or order, the credit card company can act as your intermediary in the dispute. If possible, have one credit card that is used solely for online shopping in case you need to cancel it.
Secure Internet connection. When shopping online, it is best to avoid free WiFi or other forms of open WiFi in public locations. When you are out, it is best to use your own data plan or, if you must use public WiFi, use a VPN to help minimize the risk of having your information stolen.
Credible merchants. Only shop at online merchants that are credible and well-established. Anyone can put up a website in a short amount of time, make sure you know you’re dealing with a trusted merchant with a history of doing business.
Scams – too good to be true (merchants). Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true and do not get too greedy because if a “deal” seems that good, it almost certainly is and the person behind the scam is either outright stealing your money or they are trying to steal your information.
Saving information with merchant. While it is more convenient to save your personal information and payment information with the merchant, doing so also means that information is now stored in their database and can be compromised. It is best to not save your information with merchants.
Scams – too good to be true (click here). Be wary of emails or social media posts that advertise deals that seem too good to be true and then tell you to “click here” on a link to see more information. Those are usually phishing emails that are designed for the sole purpose of getting you to click the link so they can either steal your information or deposit malware on your device. Cybercriminals can perfectly clone emails from legitimate merchants such as FedEx, PayPal, Amazon, and others so just because the email looks legit doesn’t mean it is — don’t click on the links!
Scams — the sad story. While not limited to online shopping, a close relative to the “too good to be true” scam are the scams that play on your sympathy and generosity during the Holidays. An example of these is chain emails that tell of a tragedy that has befallen people and asks for donations. Criminals know how to play on our sympathies and use our emotions to manipulate us into doing things we would never do otherwise, such as sending money because someone asked for it in an email or social media post. Unless you know the people first hand, do not let your emotions overtake your judgment and stick with reputable charitable organizations with an established history.
Good Cyber Hygiene. Whether for shopping on #CyberMonday or otherwise, it is best to always use good #CyberHygiene to protect yourself online. Here is a free Checklist for Good Cyber Hygiene.
Shawn Tuma (@shawnetuma) is an attorney with an internationally recognized reputation in cybersecurity, computer fraud, and data privacy law. He is a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Attorney at Scheef & Stone, LLP, a full-service commercial law firm in Texas that represents businesses of all sizes throughout the United States and, through its Mackrell International network, around the world.