Cybercrime Doubles in 14 Months

As reported by Bleeping Computer, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is reporting in their 2020 Internet Crime Report a 100% increase in cybercrime in the past 14 months.

According to the report, the top three US public losses come from:

  • $1.8 B to Business Email Compromise scams. These scams are when an email is received from what appears to be a known source making a legitimate request. For example:
    • A vendor sends an invoice with an updated mailing address.
    • A company executive asks their assistant to purchase dozens of gift cards as employee rewards, and asks for the serial numbers so they can email them to employees right away.
    • A homebuyer receives a message from their title company with instructions how to wire a down payment.
  • $600 M from romance scams.
    • These often start with text messages or emails from dating services or social media. As attachment builds, requests for money “for my ill mother”, or perhaps “to purchase airline tickets to see you.”
  • $336 M in investment fraud.

How to Protect Yourself

From the FBI Scams and Safety website:

  • Limit what you share online and in social media. Even apparently insignificant information such as pet names, schools attended, and birthdate can give the scammer the info they need to guess your password or answer your security questions.
  • Don’t click on anything asking you to update or verify account information. Instead, call the company first to ask if the request is legitimate.
  • Carefully examine the email address in correspondence. Scammers use slight differences to trick your eye and gain trust.
  • Be careful of what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know, and be wary of attachments forwarded to you.
  • Set up 2-Factor Authentication for every account that allows it.
  • Verify payment and purchase requests in person if possible or by calling the person. to make sure it is legitimate.
  • Be especially wary if the requestor is pressing you to act quickly.

From The Practical Paranoid Workshops and Books:

  • Install quality anti-malware.
  • Configure your email with Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message, Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. This will eliminate the largest of the problems–Business Email Compromise.
  • Get a life. This will eliminate the second largest of the problems–romance scams. (Honestly, I say this from. the heart, not to be snarky).
  • Ensure your browser connects to secure HTTPS sites, not insecure HTTP sites. Using Brave browser or installing HTTPS Everywhere on your current browser helps to do this.
  • Lock down all your social media so that only those you know can see the very little personal information you put there.

Not Sure How To Do All of This?

It’s your lucky day. The Practical Paranoia books and workshops are the fastest, easiest, most comprehensive path to cybersecurity and internet privacy. We hold your hand while you secure your computers, tablets, smartphones, data, communications, and entire internet experience.

Visit https://thepracticalparanoid.com to start securing your privacy immediately!