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Office of Information Security

Office of Information Security

 Security Tip of the Week

 Infosec Graduate Assistant

   From the desk of Sainath Kancharla

    Office of Information Security Student Assistant

 

 

 

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information and articles provided by CSU Office of Information Security and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on this website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website. 

 

Tech Support Scams

Tech Support Scam Example ImageLast week, the FTC announced a bunch of cases against tech support scammers: the people who act like there's a problem with your computer and then try to convince you to fork over money to fix – ahem – "fix" it. Except there never was a problem, and they weren't really from tech support.

If you get an unexpected pop-up, call, spam email or other urgent message about problems with your computer, stop. Don't click on any links, don't give control of your computer and don't send any money. Learn more about spotting tech scams and what you can do if you get a call or pop-up.

 

 

Source: Federal Trade Commission - Consumer Information

 

 

 Google Spam Email

If you have clicked on the email shown below, more information and recommendations can be found at Phishing Alert - Google Docs Campaign.

google phishing email example

 

How to defend against ransomware

 ransomware imageHere are some tips to protect your devices from ransomware, and what to do if you're a victim :

1. Update your software. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. And set your operating system, web browser, and security software to update automatically on your computer. On mobile devices, you may have to do it manually. If your software is out-of-date, it's easier for criminals to sneak bad stuff onto your device.

2. Think twice before clicking on links or downloading attachments and apps. According to one panelist, 91% of ransomware is downloaded through phishing emails. You also can get ransomware from visiting a compromised site or through malicious online ads.

3. Back up your important files. From tax forms to family photos, make it part of your routine to back up files on your computers and mobile devices often. When you're done, log out of the cloud and unplug external hard drives so hackers can't encrypt and lock your back-ups, too.

What if I'm a victim of ransomware?

  1. Contain the attack. Disconnect infected devices from your network to keep ransomware from spreading.
  2. Restore your computer. If you've backed up your files, and removed any malware, you may be able to restore your computer. Follow the instructions from your operating system to re-boot your computer, if possible.
  3. Contact law enforcement. Report ransomware attacks to the Internet Crime Complaint Center or an FBI field office. Include any contact information (like the criminals' email address) or payment information (like a Bitcoin wallet number). This may help with investigations.
Should I pay the ransom?
Law enforcement doesn't recommend paying the ransom, although it's up to you to determine whether the risks and costs of paying are worth the possibility of getting your files back. If you pay the ransom, there's no guarantee you'll get your files back. In fact, agreeing to pay signals to criminals that you haven't backed up your files. Knowing this, they may increase the ransom price — and may delete or deny access to your files anyway. Even if you do get your files back, they may be corrupted. And you might be a target for other scams.

Source: Federal Trade Commission - Consumer Information

 

Free movies, costly malware

 download icon"Something for nothing" sounds appealing, but often there's a hidden cost. If the something is a site or app offering free downloads or streams of well-known movies, popular TV shows, big-league sports, and absorbing games, the hidden cost is probably malware. Sites offering free content often hide malware that can bombard you with ads, take over your computer, or steal your personal information.

We recently downloaded movies from five sites that offered them for free. In all five cases, we ended up with malware on our computer. Generally, it served up a slew of unwanted ads.

 And if that's not enough to make you pause, downloading pirated content is illegal.

 

Finally, some free download sites ask for a credit card to process your registration. It's not a good idea to give your credit card number to a site offering illegally downloaded content. They're run by "pirates," not legit business people, and you can't trust them with your financial information.

Source: Federal Trade Commission - Consumer Information

 

 Don't let utility scams overpower you 

Beware of utility scams

When your electricity goes out, you lose power in more ways than one. Daily necessities are out of reach without lights, warm water, and heat or air conditioning.

So if you get a call from someone threatening to shut off your utilities because they say you owe money, you're going pay attention – and you may even pay up. But not so fast. The caller might be an imposter running a utility scam.

How can you tell? The caller wants you to send money – quickly, and in a very specific way. He may say the only way to make the "payment" is by wiring the money or using a prepaid card. That's because scammers want your money quick, and they want to stay hidden. But once you wire money or use a prepaid card, your money is gone for good.

 

 

Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your community:

  • Make sure you're really dealing with your utility company. Call the company using the number on your bill. You can also check your bill to confirm what you owe.
  • Never wire money or send the number from a prepaid card to someone you don't know — regardless of the situation. Once you do, you cannot get your money back.
  • Contact the company if you are falling behind on your utility bill. See if you can work out a payment plan to catch up and keep your service on.

Source: Federal Trade Commission - Consumer Information

 

 Digital Spring Cleaning

digital spring cleaning

Spring cleaning is almost a right of passage. With it we celebrate the renewal of life that
occurs in nature each spring and eagerly await the exciting fun of summer. Traditionally, spring cleaning means cracking our windows and dusting, mopping, and vacuuming, but this year consider taking a few minutes to spring clean your digital life. Cleaning the clutter helps your cyber life run smoothly and protects your security. Here are few tips to get started.

 

Source: msisac.cisecurity.org

 

 

 

 FCC alerts consumers to the "Can you hear me?" scam

phone scam

The Federal Communications Commission is alerting consumers to be on the lookout for scam callers seeking to get victims to say the word "yes" during a call and later use a recording of the response to authorize unwanted charges on the victim's utility or credit card account.

The scam begins when a consumer answers a call and the person at the end of the line asks, "Can you hear me?" The caller then records the consumer's "Yes" response and thus obtains a voice signature. This signature can later be used by the scammers to pretend to be the consumer and authorize fraudulent charges via telephone. Learn more about the "Can you hear me?" scam.

 

Sources:

[1] fcc.gov
[2] consumeraffairs.com

 

 

 

 

 Security Tips Archive