Security Insights: Speeding Ticket Spear Phishing
Spear Phishing Alert – Wednesday, May 4, 2016
There is a new local email scam: fake speeding tickets. The spear phishing email appears to be a speeding ticket. Several people in Tredyffrin Township have received emails which appear to be from their local police department. The emails contained accurate driving information: date and time, speed, license number and street address. Even more shocking, the drivers were actually speeding on the dates and times listed in the emails, which demands payment through an attached link. There is no apparatus for payment, instead the link downloads malware onto the user’s computer.
Authorities suspect the accurate information is being obtained through a traffic app which tracks a smart phone’s GPS data. It is believed the hacker was able to exploit a security flaw but it is still unclear exactly how the app is able to access this data.
The Tredyffrin Police Department warns that “citations are never emailed or sent in the form of an email attachment.” Scam Alert Speeding Ticket Email Scam – Tredyffrin Police Department
Please contact ITDATA to discuss ways to help your team avoid downloading malware, ransomware or other malicious software that can negatively impact your technology.
A New Scam Sends Fake Traffic Tickets to Speeding Drivers – Yahoo Finance
Reduce the attack surface of your computer through system hardening
Computers are capable of performing a seeming infinite amount of tasks. They are made to be adaptable and capable to open and execute many different programs and applications. Unfortunately this is also the reason why your machine may be susceptible to a malicious attack. Every application that is installed on your machine is door to your data and the network it resides on. If these applications are not kept up to date with patches, hot fixes and new versions, then these doors may be wide open to anyone strolling along the internet. Keeping up with the bad guys is a constant process.
Ever wonder why Adobe needs to be updated so much? In most cases it is not because there are new features to the application, but because they are trying to fix vulnerabilities in their code so that hackers do not take advantage of an application that is installed in nearly every organization. On April 5, 2016 Adobe released a security advisory citing a critical vulnerability in their latest version of Flash Player 18.104.22.168 and any version previous to version 22.214.171.124. If you have been ignoring an adobe update for the past few weeks, make sure to update it now. This is not a new issue for Adobe’s Flash player. If you do not use Adobe Flash, delete it from your system. Don’t just delete Adobe though, delete anything that you don’t use frequently.
A large part of system hardening is deciding what applications that you use and what you can delete. If your computer is for work purposes, this may already be done for you by your system admin. If not, you should go through your programs under “Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Programs and Features” and uninstall anything you don’t use frequently. If you need to use the application you can always install the latest version which will be safer than falling behind on patches and updates. Watch out for add-ons when you install a new browser such as Adobe or Chrome. Often times you must remove the check mark on a box if you do not want a Yahoo toolbar or some other program installed along with what you were intending on installing. This is another good reason to skim through your installed programs, you never know what piggybacked onto your latest installed program that needs to be removed.
By removing unwanted programs, you are decreasing the “attack surface” of your machine. By removing these programs you are making it very difficult for a hacker to find a vulnerability in your system. System hardening and regular virus scans can help to ensure that your data and your company’s data stays secure.
For more information about our system hardening procedures and keeping your companies data secure, Contact ITDATA today.
Help Desk Technician, ITDATA, Inc.
Social Engineering Alert – A Call Regarding Hacked Email Account, April 2016
The Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Consumer and Business Education is warning consumers of a new tech support scam. The FTC has received reports of individuals getting calls from someone claiming to be from Global Privacy Enforcement Network – a legitimate organization known to work with various governments. The caller informs you that your email account has been hacked and is sending fraudulent emails. They threaten to take legal action, unless you allow them remote access to your computer in order to fix the problem immediately.
If the caller raises questions, the scammers have been known to increase pressure and give FTC’s staff numbers for further authentication.
- The FTC advises that you keep the following points in mind when receiving a tech support call:
- Don’t give control of your computer to anyone who calls offering to “fix” your computer.
- Never give out or confirm your financial or sensitive information to anyone who contacts you.
- Getting pressure to act immediately? That’s a sure sign of a scam. Hang up.
If you have concerns, contact your security software company directly. Use contact information you know is right, not what the caller gives you.
For further details regarding tech support scams and government imposter scams please visit the Federal Trade Commission website or contact us Contact ITDATA today.
Increase system performance and security with Malwarebytes
Do you remember the days when your computer operated more efficiently? Applications ran smoothly, emails opened quickly in Outlook and opening a web browser was not an event that required a bathroom break to perform. If you are someone reminiscing about the good old days, hold on to your office chairs because there is one program that can bring those good times back. “Malwarebytes” is a program that scans your system for malicious objects and gets rid of them. Malicious objects can not only bog down your processor speed by taking up essential resources, but can also be dangerous to your precious files.
The now infamous “cryptolocker” ransom-ware virus has wreaked havoc on many systems. In its first 100 days of being released in 2013, the virus netted 30 million dollars to the creators. A virus on your system can travel to the servers or other workstations, and bring all work to a standstill. Running a scan with Malwarebytes is easy, you can work while it runs in the background and when it is complete you will have the peace of mind that your system is not infected.
One important tip to keep in mind once the program is installed, is that the databases need to be kept up to date by running updates when prompted or about once a week. These databases tell the program which files to eliminate so keeping them updated is very important. Malwarebytes will let you know if the database is out of date with a sad face, if you are up to date and have performed weekly scans, a happy face will be displayed.
You can download a free version of Malwarebytes here https://www.malwarebytes.org/. There are some nice perks to having an enterprise version of Malwarebytes running on every system in the company.
If you would like an ITData technician to help you install Malwarebytes on your system, or would like to hear more about setting up the enterprise version on all of your workstations and servers, please Contact ITDATA today.
Help Desk Technician, ITDATA, Inc.
Phishing Scheme Concerning Payroll and HR Officials Involving W-2s
Our security partner, Layer 8 Security, has an on-going relationship with local and federal law enforcement. They receive intelligence and bulletins from the FBI and other sources on a monthly basis. In some cases, dissemination is limited; however, in this case a wide dissemination is allowed. We are posting this phishing alert to keep you and your company safe.
The Internal Revenue Service issued a phishing alert to payroll and human resources professionals to be cautious of a coordinated phishing attack that imitates company executives and requests employees’ personal information. Thieves are seeking forms like the W-2 that contain social security numbers and other personal data. These thieves ‘spoof’ an executive’s name as the sender to make the email appear legitimate. Main Line Health recently suffered an attack like this.
If you suspect that you received a phishing email here are some steps to take:
- Take note of the ‘reply-to’ field to make sure it is genuine
- Contact the sender by phone or in-person to confirm that he or she actually sent the email
- Be aware of the company’s chain of command
- When in doubt, contact IT
The IRS has learned this scheme is part of the surge in phishing emails seen this year. It already has claimed several victims as payroll and human resources offices mistakenly email payroll data including Forms W-2 that contain Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII) to cybercriminals posing as company executives.
“This is a new twist on an old scheme using the cover of the tax season and W-2 filings to try tricking people into sharing personal data. Now the criminals are focusing their schemes on company payroll departments,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. If your CEO appears to be emailing you for a list of company employees, check it out before you respond. Everyone has a responsibility to remain diligent about confirming the identity of people requesting personal information about employees.
IRS Criminal Investigation already is reviewing several cases in which people have been tricked into sharing SSNs with what turned out to be cybercriminals. Criminals using personal information stolen elsewhere seek to monetize data, including by filing fraudulent tax returns for refunds.
This phishing variation is known as a “spoofing” email. It will contain, for example, the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this variation, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and information including SSNs.
The following are some of the details contained in the e-mails:
- “Kindly send me the individual 2015 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.”
- “Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary).”
- “I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees’ wage and tax statement for 2015, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.”
The IRS recently renewed a wider consumer phishing alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season and other reports of scams targeting others in a wider tax community.
The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
The IRS, state tax agencies and tax industry are engaged in a public awareness campaign – Taxes. Security. Together. – to encourage everyone to do more to protect personal, financial and tax data. See IRS.gov/taxessecuritytogether or Publication 4524 for additional steps you can take to protect yourself.
Please share this alert with your business colleagues that you think could be affected. If you are unsure of how this notification pertains to your company, feel free to contact us to receive more information.