Social Engineering Threats Soaring

KnowBe4 issued an alert warning of a recent spate of high profile social engineering attempts targeted at prominent businesses. One such attack includes high profile financial advisors, officers and deal makers, thought to be an attempt to gain a Wall Street edge. The FBI also alerted private sector companies that targeting of their networks is a significant threat as reported by Reuters late Monday. Not to be left out, small business and consumers are being targeted with fake IRS agents looking for a little extra dough for the holidays along with an uptick in phishing emails posing as Costco, Home Depot and a variety of shipping sources.

Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 CEO said, “Hackers will use as many avenues to break in as they can dream up, but social engineering is one of the favored. We are hitting the season when online shipping is at a peak and employees become much more complacent. It is important to keep users alert and aware of how much a target they are, especially during scam season.”

Furthermore, Sjouwerman warns, “I cannot think of a more urgent reason to step all employees through effective security awareness training to keep them on their toes with security top of mind.”

Similar to a magazine’s editorial calendar, hackers have a “scam calendar” that focuses on events and opportunities to take maximum advantage of unsuspecting users or lax employees. These malware campaigns don’t discriminate between home or office and use social engineering to trick users. Millions of such phishing emails are sent each day and just one user in a hurry clicking on something might take down a system or a company.

Sjouwerman offers this advice:

1) Be on the lookout for "Shipping Problem" emails from FedEx, UPS or the US Mail, where the email claims they tried to deliver a package from (for instance Apple Computer) but could not deliver due to an incomplete address. "Please click on the link to correct the address and you will get your package." If you do, your computer is likely to get infected with malware. Warn everyone in the family, especially teenagers.

2) Watch out for alerts via a TEXT to your smartphone that "confirm delivery" from FedEx, UPS or the US Mail, and then asks you for some personal information. Don't enter anything. Think Before You Click!

3) Reiterating a warning KnowBe4 sent out a few weeks ago, there is a fake refund scam going on that could come from a big retailer. It claims there was a "wrong transaction" and wants you to "click for refund" but instead, your device may be infected with ransomware.

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