We know… It sounds like something out of the movies.
The plotline usually goes something like…
“In a dark, near-future parallel world the good guys are completely stumped by a hacker going by the name of Nemesis121. Civilization as we know it hangs in the balance. The clock is ticking down to doomsday, and the only person that can save the human race is a humble computer professor and his sassy grad student, Linda. The government sends its top man, Agent Todd Miller, to recruit the professor and save the world. – Watch the movie…feel the excitement.”
Yeah… pretty predictable, isn’t it?
As you’ve likely guessed, the reality isn’t quite that dramatic.
Here’s What Happened When the FBI Came Asking for Help from Network Heroes
(It happened about a year ago now, so we’re not spilling any secrets or letting the bad guys know what the good guys are doing.)
What was the problem?
It was a phishing attack.
Phishing is a tactic used by criminals – everyone from the lone wolf to international cyber-criminal syndicates.
In phishing, thousands of emails are sent to individuals and businesses alike. These emails are designed to look like legitimate emails coming from businesses and banking institutions that you already do business with. The emails ask you to email them or call their provided telephone number and give detailed personal information – banking, credit cards, account numbers. The bad guys then use that information to steal your identity…and your money.
It’s scary stuff.
That’s why the FBI is involved in investigating phishing scams, apprehending those responsible, and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.
The particular phishing attack that Network Heroes was asked to assist the FBI in investigating was successful at stealing people’s money – unfortunately.
Our Senior IT Support Engineer was happy to put his skills to work and help the FBI prove that what they suspected to be a phishing attack was exactly what they thought. He helped them by providing the technical information about the phishing attack that they would need to build their case against the criminals involved.
How Do You Protect Yourself From A Phishing Attack?
Avoiding phishing attacks isn’t as complicated as you may think, but it’s vital that you follow some basic guidelines. Here’s what Network Heroes, the Las Vegas Computer and IT Support professionals, want you to know – so you can protect yourself.
- Realize that none of the companies you do business with will ask you for account numbers, usernames, or passwords via email. If the email asks for these things delete it, go to the company’s official website, and report the fraudulent email to them.
- Look over the suspect email for misspelled words and bad grammar. Many of the phishing emails are not written by people that know English well. As a result, phishing emails are often riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors.
- Don’t click on any link – none – zero! Leave the email and go to the company’s official website and look for any link you need there.
- Don’t call any phone number listed on the email. Again, go to the company’s official site and get the phone number from there to call if you have any questions or need assurance that the suspect email is indeed a scam.
- Take a look at the graphics on the email. Very often the graphics on the email – such as the company’s logo – will be of poor quality. Companies today do not send out emails with poor quality graphics – especially their company logo!
- Realize that the company that you deal with will contact you either by mail, phone or through your online account on their website. Be suspicious when you get an email from a company that you don’t usually get emails from. It’s likely to be a phishing scam.
- Never provide personal information. The companies that you do business with already have that information from you in their databases. They will not ask for it in an email.
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