FBI warning, more phony phone call scams and distrust on the Internet

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday June 12th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for ITWorldCanda.com. To hear the podcast, click on the arrow below:

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The FBI this week warned that criminals are taking advantage of the security features of web pages to fool people. Here’s how it works: You click on a link in an email and it goes to a web page asking you to log in. The site looks legit. You look at the address bar and see the site name starts with HTTPS, and beside that is a little green lock. But that doesn’t mean the site is legitimate. HTTPS or that green lock only means the site uses encryption to scramble a login username and password or credit card number. It’s not proof the site is genuine.So here’s the advice from the FBI: Do not simply trust the name of a sender or a company in an email; look at the intent of the message. Suspicious messages have a sense of urgency — you’ve got to act now. If you get a suspicious email with a link from someone you know, confirm it’s legitimate by calling or emailing the contact; don’t reply directly to the email.

One tip: Misspellings or poor grammar in the message. Here’s another: The link in a message isn’t accurate. A phony email address may be ‘thecompany.org’, instead of ‘.com’. Finally, don’t trust a website just because it has a lock icon or “HTTPS” in the browser address bar.

Speaking of getting stung by email, Global News reports the Nova Scotia Health Authority is notifying nearly 3,000 people of a data breach. An employee followed the link in an email and logged into a site she thought was legitimate. Instead it gave the attacker access to her email account. What may have been accessed was a list of people scheduled for surgery at a provincial hospital.

More telephone scams are headed your way. In the past couple of days mechanical sounding automated calls have been going out to people. One starts: “This is an emergency call from Visa Security department. Your card has been charged $580 dollars. Your transaction has been put on hold. If you have not made the charge press 1 to speak to one of the Visa security representatives.”Another, with a woman’s voice says, “Your card has been charged $2,000 for your computer services. If you want to cancel the subscription and get your refund, call 1-800.”Ignore these calls, and tell your friends to ignore them as well.

Are you uncomfortable with the Internet? You’re not alone, according to a poll of over 25,000 people in 25 countries. Fifty-three per cent of respondents said they are more concerned about their online privacy than they were a year ago. Eighty-one per cent think that cyber criminals have contributed, at least somewhat, to increasing their online privacy concerns. But the second biggest group at fault were Internet companies. Three quarters of respondents feel Internet companies are part of the problem when it comes to increasing concerns about online privacy. Six per cent said they had fallen for fake news at least once, with 44 per cent saying they sometimes or frequently did. Facebook was the most commonly cited source of fake news, with 77 per cent of Facebook users saying they had personally seen fake news there, followed by 62 per cent of Twitter users.

Ten per cent of Twitter users said they had closed their Twitter account in the past year as a direct result of fake news, while nine per cent of Facebook users said they shut their accounts because of fake news. Nearly half of those surveyed who are concerned said they now disclose less personal information online, while 40 per cent said they are taking greater care to secure their devices. Thirty-nine per cent said they were using the internet more selectively.

The survey was conducted for the Centre for International Governance Innovation, the Internet Society and the United Nations.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at ITWorldCanada.com. That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening.



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