“Ding!” chimes your computer’s speakers, letting you know a new email has arrived in your inbox. You scan your eyes to the bolded subject: “REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP.” You work for a business, so you click to read the message. A Nigerian prince has emailed you directly saying their federal government has acquired substantial funds, but they are unable to collect them from the bank. So the writer invites you to have you use your company name to collect the funds on their behalf and they will reward you substantially. Your response is immediate: mark the message as “spam” and continue working.
Previously these were the scams set up by cyberattackers, and for most of us, we didn’t worry about them because we never would fall for something so obviously a scam. However, new reports are showing that cyberattackers are getting a whole lot smarter, and more and more people are falling victim to their scams. So how can we prevent ourselves from becoming victims? Increased awareness and education.
Cyberattackers Are Getting Smarter
$2.3 billion dollars. That’s how much money has been reported lost from business email compromise scans alone in the US—in just under three years. Business email compromise scams, like the Nigerian Prince letter example, have recently come to also be known as “CEO fraud,” because email scams are getting more sophisticated by tricking people into releasing valuable information into the hand of their CEO, or so they think.
In March, a Pivotal Labs employee received an email requesting employees’ W-2 information. The sender appeared to be from CEO Rob Mee, so the information was sent. But as it turns out, the email was from cybercriminals. Seagate and SnapChap also reported similar incidences of releasing highly sensitive information into the hands of cyberattackers. Such attacks are getting more astute as cybercriminals are tricking people into doing what they want. And for many organizations and individuals, the results have been damaging.
Avoiding Cyberattacks through Awareness
Cyberattackers are going to continue to grow smarter. The only way we can protect ourselves is by raising awareness and educating ourselves on the issues. Some companies are training their employees on how to recognize and avoid phishing and email scams. So while you work alongside your IT team to make sure your computer and software security are working and up to date, make sure you take the time to educate yourself of the cyberattacks that attempt to take advantage of human error. Hopefully by raising awareness of these new tactics by cybercriminals, we can protect our information and ourselves by not falling victim to their schemes
Source: NBC News