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Cybercrime: How To #Define It And #Defend #Yourself #Against It

There’s a good chance words like “cybersecurity” and “hacking” are floating around the minds of Atlanta’s internet users in light of the recent ransomware attack on the city’s computer network or the data breaches that affected Equifax customers.

In 2014, 47 percent of adults in the U.S. had some of their personal information exposed by hackers, and a recent Gallup poll showed that 67 percent of Americans worry “frequently or occasionally” about cybercrime.

Falling victim to cybercrime is a scary thought, but there are steps people can take to protect themselves from malicious agents on the internet. WABE has compiled a guide to common internet crimes with tips on how Atlantans can avoid falling victim to them.

Ransomware
Ransomware attacks affect victims large and small. It was a ransomware attack that left Atlantans without the ability to pay their bills for days in March, but these attacks can affect individual users’ computers as well. Once they’re running on someone’s machine, ransomware programs take control of the computer and threaten to restrict access to it indefinitely unless a ransom is paid.

Ransomware enters a computer or network either by “exploiting a security hole in vulnerable software or by tricking someone to install it,” according to internet security company Norton.

Victims of ransomware might find themselves compelled to pay the money asked of them to get their data back, but the FBI states that’s exactly what a user should not do. Ransomware should be removed by a “computer professional” because even when the malware appears to be gone, it could still be working in the background.

Phishing Scams
Phishing is the act of luring in users with emails or phone calls that appear to be innocuous but are actually sent to trick users into giving away access to their computers, according to Microsoft. Phishing scams usually originate in spam emails or phone calls from people claiming to be with companies such as Microsoft saying they need to gain access to a user’s machine.

It is relatively simple for attackers to disguise the emails they send to look like they originate from someplace official, be it a company’s IT department or even Microsoft itself.

Clicking on a seemingly harmless link in an email can be a trigger to install malware or a route for hackers to access personal information. In 2017, phishing scammers managed to steal the paychecks of 27 Atlanta Public Schools employees, costing the district nearly $300,000, according to the AJC.

Microsoft recommends a few best practices for staying away from phishing scams: make sure to hover over links before clicking on them to be sure they go where they say they do. Be wary of official-looking emails that are full of spelling or grammar mistakes and be sure to double-check spelling on URLs that look official because a slightly misspelled web address could lead somewhere dangerous.

Data Breaches
All it took to put 56 million credit cards at risk and create $62 million in costs was a set of stolen log-on credentials for the computer network of Atlanta-based Home Depot, according to USA Today.

In addition to the credit card information that was stolen from self-checkout counters in Home Depot stores, millions of email addresses were stolen, leading to victims being at risk of further phishing scams.

One thing to remember is that, according to Experian, even though someone might be a victim of a data breach, they are not necessarily a victim of identity theft. The three steps the business services company recommends for people who have fallen victim to this are closely monitoring credit history and looking out for new accounts, keeping track of Social Security benefits and monitoring tax returns for unusual activity.

Denial Of Service Attacks
A Denial of Service, or DoS attack, is when an attacker attempts to take down a computer or network by targeting it with a barrage of requests. Every attempt to access a website by typing a URL or clicking a link is a request, but large numbers of these at the same time can overload a server and prevent legitimate users from accessing a website or its content, according to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

In 2016, the University of Georgia’s internet was brought to a halt by a Denial of Service attack that “saturated” the university’s internet capacity of 20 gigabytes per second of data, blocking all access to the internet for everyone on campus, according to the AJC.

These attacks are difficult to prevent, simply because they take advantage of the way a server works. But many of these attacks utilize networks called botnet, which are computers connected by the same piece of malware that can all be used at the same time. While a user may not be able to prevent a DoS attack against a network, they could potentially avoid their computer becoming the newest member of a botnet by remaining wary of phishing scams and ensuring their antivirus software is up to date.

Protecting Yourself
While anyone can be the victim of cybercrime, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind. Norton recommends practices such as using long, difficult-to-guess passwords, keeping your network secured and using a full-service internet security suite.

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Girl #Scouts fight #cybercrime with new #cybersecurity #badge

Source: National Cyber Security News

For the first time, millions of Girl Scouts nationwide are taking on hacking and cybercrime as they work towards earning newly introduced cybersecurity badges.

If you think being a Girl Scout is all camping, crafting, and cooking, think again.

For the first time, millions of Girl Scouts nationwide are taking on hacking and cybercrime as they work towards earning newly introduced cybersecurity badges. Girl Scouts of the USA teamed up with security company Palo Alto Networks to devise a curriculum that educates young girls about the basics of computer networks, cyber attacks, and online safety.

Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of GSUSA, said they created the program based on demand from the girls themselves.

“Protecting their identity online, how to protect themselves when they’re browsing, how to protect their computers, their family networks from being hacked, those are things that are of real interest to girls,” Acevedo said in an interview with NBC News.

In Alameda, California, Girl Scouts of Troop 32749 are already hard at work learning about the basics of coding and computer networks.

“Evelyn, you’re going to be my message sender,” said troop leader Danielle Zorn, holding an unruly ball of green yarn.

Read More….

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Canada to #Devote $1 #Billion of Federal #Budget to #Fighting #Cybercrime

Source: National Cyber Security News

NEXT-GENERATION CYBER-PROFESSIONALS
The Canadian government will release details of its federal budget this coming week, and local news outlets are reporting it will include a $1 billion cybersecurity fund. According to CBC News, federal government agencies requested for the funding to bolster Canada’s cybersecurity infrastructure, as multiple departments are facing growing cybercrime issues.

A bulk of the funding will be a much-needed supplement to Canada’s 2010 National Cyber Security Strategy — although the revised plan would not be included in the budget. The revised plan is expected to come out later this year from Public Safety Canada.

The proposed budget would finance a number of efforts to combat cybercrime in the country, which could include training the next-generation of so-called cyber-professionals and encouraging them to apply their craft in Canada. The money would also likely be used to strengthen military’s cybersecurity capabilities by outsourcing the expertise needed from local private companies. The idea is to keep the pool of cyber-security warriors trained in and working for Canada.

A TIMELY DECISION
Many experts also see the budget translating to funding cyber “co-development” projects between the government and the private sector. Cybersecurity in Canada would be provided for by Canadian information and technology companies, which in turn would work with the federal government to develop both hardware and software solutions.

Read More….

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Cybercrime #warning for #homes and #businesses

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

BUSINESSES and households around the region have been warned about the growing danger of cybercrime.

The rise of the internet has led to the potential impact of cyber-theft, cyber-vandalism and even cyber-extortion increasing dramatically, with experts warning that the more we rely on the net, the more potentially vulnerable we become.

Mark Hughes, chief executive of BT Security, said it was “a daunting thought” that there are now about 27 billion devices connected to the internet, more than three times the human population of the world, and that this figure was expected to reach 125 billion by 2030.

Mr Hughes said: “If you think this issue doesn’t affect you and that it is a mainly a matter for governments and large organisations, then think again.

“There are growing indications that small and medium businesses, the bedrock of a regional economy such as the one in Yorkshire and the Humber, are increasingly in the firing line of the criminals, and research indicates that many are unprepared to meet this threat. Research by Accenture showed that 55 per cent of British workers can’t recall receiving cyber security training, whilst one in five weren’t sure they could identify a phishing email – a common method used by cyber criminals to raid personal bank accounts.”

Mr Hughes said BT security team detect 100,000 unique malware samples every day – more than one per second – and protect the BT network against more than 4,000 cyber-attacks daily.

He urged all homes and businesses to take steps to protect themselves from cyber attacks, including updating anti-virus software regularly, installing any patches recommended by the software, investing in regular cyber security training for staff, and reminding staff to be wary of opening suspicious emails or links.

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The #difference between #cybersecurity and #cybercrime, and why it #matters

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The #difference between #cybersecurity and #cybercrime, and why it #matters

A Texas woman in her 50s, let’s call her “Amy,” met a man online calling himself “Charlie.” Amy, who lived in Texas, was in a bad marriage. Charlie said he was a businessman and a Christian, and wooed her. “He was saying all the right things,” Amy later told the FBI. “He was interested in me. He was interested in getting to know me better. He was very positive, and I felt like there was a real connection there.” Early on, Charlie told her he was having some problems with his business and needed money. She wanted to help.

From 2014 to 2016, she sent him US$2 million – often in installments of a few thousand dollars at a time, always hoping and expecting to get paid back. After she alerted the FBI, two Nigerian citizens were arrested near Houston – both pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in connection with Amy’s relationship with Charlie. The person who played the character of Charlie has not been identified.

This story is a cautionary example of a crime that happens online. But most advice for avoiding online dangers – like having long passwords, using two-factor authentication and encrypting data – wouldn’t have helped Amy.

The crime that befell her has nothing to do with cybersecurity. It’s cybercrime, a human-centered crime committed in a digital environment. There are more of these each year: In the U.S. in 2016, 298,728 complainants reported losing more than $1.3 billion in various types of cybercrimes, including romance scams but also involving fraudulent online sales, extortion, violent harassment and impersonation scams, among others. As a social scientist who studies online behavior and as the program coordinator for one of the few cybercrime undergraduate programs in the United States, I find it unfortunate that problems like Amy’s get relatively little national attention, especially compared to cybersecurity.

Understanding the differences

Cybersecurity is not merely a set of guidelines and actions intended to prevent cybercrime. The two types of problems differ substantially in terms of what happens and who the victims are, as well as the academic areas that study them.

Cybersecurity is ultimately about protecting government and corporate networks, seeking to make it difficult for hackers to find and exploit vulnerabilities. Cybercrime, on the other hand, tends to focus more on protecting individuals and families as they navigate online life.

Cybersecurity Cybercrime
Types of crimes Crimes where a computer network, software or hardware is the target (ransomware, viruses, worms, SQL injection, distributed denial of service attacks) Crimes where the human or the human’s data is the target (romance scams, cyberbullying, hate speech, sexting, child pornography trafficking, trolling)
Victims Corporations and governments Families and individuals
Academic programs Computer science, computer engineering, information technology Criminology, psychology, sociology
Intellectual focus Applied science oriented – coding, networking and engineering strategies for making networks more secure Basic science oriented – theoretical understandings of how and why crime is committed

The U.S. has created several initiatives to improve its cybersecurity, including investments in cybersecurity education and expanding efforts of government agencies.

Unfortunately, upgrading official networks and training future generations of cybersecurity professionals will not necessarily benefit people like Amy. Technical solutions won’t solve her problems. Social science research into human behavior online is how to help millions like her learn to protect themselves.

Little research

One of the few studies on romance scams like the one that ensnared Amy suggests that there are three stages to these types of cons. It starts with the criminal engaging in intense online communications with the victim. In Amy’s case, Charlie undoubtedly contacted her repeatedly as their relationship began. That built her trust and lowered her defenses – and commanded much of the time and energy she had for social interaction.

Once the victim is isolated from other interpersonal social experiences, the illusion of connection and interdependence can deepen. Charlie no doubt kept this illusion alive any way he could, taking as much of Amy’s money as he could. In the third and final stage, the target finally sees through the veil and learns that it’s all been a scam. That’s when Amy, urged by her financial advisor, suspected fraud and called the FBI.

More research on cybercrime could help deepen scholars’ and investigators’ understandings of how these social science problems play out online. To my knowledge there are just four cybercrime programs at residential four-year colleges. With more effort and investment, academics and law enforcement could learn more and work better together to identify and protect the real people who are at risk from these online criminals.

 

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Five arrested by cybercrime officers investigating Tunbridge Wells hacking

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

A cybercrime investigation by specialist officers has led to five arrests. The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate has been investigating the alleged hacking of a Tunbridge Wells company in April. The hacking resulted in one of its clients paying £25,000 to a third party after receiving a fraudulent email….

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Cybercrime is costing each business a whopping $11.7M a year, report says

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The cost of cybercrime has risen 62% over the past five years, costing each organization some $11.7 million per year, according to a joint report from Accenture and the Ponemon Institute report released Tuesday. The Cost of Cyber Crime Study, announced in a joint press release, was built on the survey…

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Cybercrime proliferates against banks, other businesses

Keep employees off the Internet and have workers avoid clicking on any attachment or link in an email. Those are the only sure ways to avoid cyberattacks, according to three experts who spoke today at the North Bay Business Journal’s conference on cybersecurity in Rohnert Park. Maybe it sounds severe… View full post on National Cyber Security Ventures

The Cybercrime Scheme That Attacks Email Accounts And Your Bank Accounts

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Cybercrime is ever present, and there is one particular fraud we all should be aware of—particularly anyone who sends or receives bank wiring instructions or the funds themselves. The fraud involves the hacking or impersonating of email accounts, it might be called business email compromise (BEC) fraud, CEO fraud, or…

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1,853 cybercrime reports for ’16 in Arkansas, FBI says

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Arkansas was the source of at least 1,853 reports of Internet crime last year, with cyberattacks ranging from personal data breaches to government impersonation to extortion, according to the FBI. The reports account for a small percentage of the nearly 300,000 online crimes the FBI tallied nationwide in 2016, but…

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