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Phishing Attacks and Hacker Threats

 

Phishing, malware, botnet and hacker attacks as a whole are a modern day problem which shouldn’t be underestimated. If you are working for a big company it’s very likely that your IT department has already taken care and established a few things: firewalls, IPSS and sandboxes. Even so, the malware could breach this protection and endanger your personal or corporative data. So, how to know what to look for when you access your PC or laptop?

Phishing Explained

Usually this works in a few ways which have the most success. First one is to send you an open message which will play with your emotions. Hackers could be really creative when they want to deceive you into sharing personal data (PD) or credit card information:

E.g. Interpol Europe has detected your IP address accessing a website with content expressing child pornography. You have violated EU law, under the Act. 11111-2222, Sec. 1, p.1 of the protection and prevention of child abuse and trafficking of minors. The accusation and the potential proving of guilt will result into active sentence between 3 and 6 years into prison or other secured facility. You will be arrested and charged with violation of the European laws as stated in the European Law Journal annex 2 enforced at 01.01.2018.

If you don’t pay the amount of US 100 dollars HERE your crime will become public knowledge in the next 24 hours and Interpol will not be hold responsible for the recklessness of your actions.

You can use the following platforms: Master****, Vis*, Pay***, American*******, Discove*;   

I WILL PAY (Button)

Most of you might find this example a bit childish, but keep in mind that not all people are legal experts. This message might pop up one the screen of your child or your elderly father and they might risk paying a $100, while panicking that less than 24 hours the whole world will see them as child-sex offenders. Hackers might also put very appropriate images of prisons, guards, handcuffs, police-officers, the logo of Interpol and etc.

Another way hackers use to trick is when they send you some email to inform you of threat for your banking information (for example) pretending to be the Cyber Security Department of your bank. They might use a link as bait to transfer you to another page, which looks familiar but serves only as a duplicate-website where your username, password or PD could be stolen. Be very suspicious if you receive such mail that redirects you to another site or has a phone number at which YOU can call to receive information! The website may look normal but some small details must be recognized or even proved before you decide to access any personal account. To call a random phone number is also suspicious and should be investigated before assumed legitimate. If you receive a phone call and you are not sure if the conversation can be authenticated, play dumb and DO NOT share any personal information of yourself or third parties!

Unsubscribe emails

When you receive an email which is from a random site which doesn’t seem familiar to you at all – do not dare to click right on it. Usually the content lures you to unsubscribe from something you have never agreed to. It will steal the data when you enter it and then use it to cheat or blackmail you (it might even use your ID to create a false identity and execute a crime).

Too good to be true

Emails congratulating you a won of 2 million dollars are fishy and honestly – too good to be true. DO NOT SEND AN ANSWER TO SUCH MAILS OR LOG IN ANY LINK ATTACHED TO THEM!

Phishing attack can reach thousands of people in seconds because the cybercriminals use data base of emails. Basically the can write a single page code and the launch as many mails as they poses in their base.

Other hacker threats

The so called ransomware is the process of locking out someone of their computer system and blackmail them to pay a release fee. Other way to use information against people is to encrypt their PD and ask for payment in exchange of decryption. The real tricky part is that hackers don’t play by the rules. They abide only with their Code of values and might release only part of the information and continue to blackmail you in future. The cybercriminals might even use ransomware as a decoy while they extract enough sensitive information from your files and later sell it to the right people. DO NOT EVER PAY RANSOM FOR YOUR DATA – SAVE THE MONEY TO USE IT FOR RECOVERY AND STABILIZATION!

 

Any examples in this article are only mildly based on true hacker threats and do not represent real messages even though are inspired by such. The author of this article didn’t want to harm directly or otherwise companies which are providers of payment services and used only some initials of the brand names.

 

Written by: Lyubomir S. Evtimov

 

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