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The US has warned that ransomware hacking groups are now targeting companies involved in "significant, time-sensitive financial events" and people whose private financial information they have gained access to. In a latest advisory to private firms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said that ransomware actors are very likely using significant financial events, such as mergers and acquisitions, to target and leverage victimcompanies for ransomware infections.
"Prior to an attack, ransomware actors research publicly available information, such as a victim's stock valuation, as well as material nonpublic information. If victims do not pay a ransom quickly, ransomware actors will threaten to disclose this information publicly, causing potential investor backlash," the FBI said in its report. During the initial reconnaissance phase, cyber criminals identify non-publicly available information, which they threaten to release or use as leverage during the extortion to entice victims to comply with ransom demands.
If victims do not pay a ransom quickly, ransomware actors will threaten to disclose this information publicly, causing potential investor backlash. The FBI said it has identified several cases of ransomware groups using information on an ongoing merger or acquisition negotiation to put pressure on the firms to pay up. In early 2020, a ransomware actor using the moniker "Unknown" made a post on the Russian hacking forum "Exploit" that encouraged using the NASDAQ stock exchange to influence the extortion process.
The US has warned that ransomware hacking groups are now targeting companies involved in "significant, time-sensitive financial events" and people whose private financial information they have gained access to. | Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash
Following this, unidentified ransomware actors negotiating a payment with a victim during a March 2020 ransomware event stated: "We have also noticed that you have stocks. If you will not engage us for negotiation we will leak your data to the nasdaq and we will see what's gonna (sic) happen with your stocks." Between March and July 2020, at least three publicly traded US companies actively involved in mergers and acquisitions were victims of ransomware during their respective negotiations.
In April this year, Darkside ransomware actors posted a message on their blog site to show their interest in impacting a victim's share price. The message stated: "Now our team and partners encrypt many companies that are trading on Nasdaq and other stock exchanges. If the company refuses to pay, we are ready to provide information before the publication, so that it would be possible to earn a reduction in the price of shares. Write to us in 'Contact Us' and we will provide you with detailed information."
The FBI said that paying a ransom emboldens adversaries to target additional organisations, encourages other criminal actors to engage in the distribution of ransomware, and/or may fund illicit activities. Paying the ransom also does not guarantee that a victim's files will be recovered. "However, the FBI understands that when businesses are faced with an inability to function, executives will evaluate all options to protect their shareholders, employees, and customers," it said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Hackers, private, financial, information, ransomware, FBI, extrort
By BrianJoshua Ronaldo
In this age of information, credit fraud is not a difficult crime to perpetrate. The idea that a thief could gain access to your account information or personal data is not as implausible as you might think–social security number misuse has increased over the last two years, resulting in a variety of credit-related crimes.
Fortunately, you can fight back against credit fraud by learning how credit fraud and identity theft occur, and by actively monitoring your credit report for unauthorized account use on a regular basis. Your credit report will list any new activity on accounts you haven’t been using, as well as new accounts that you did not open. Shreveport criminal defense lawyer and credit fraud expert Eric Johnson has put together this guide for readers in order to educate them on how to protect themselves against identity theft and credit fraud.
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One of the best ways to keep track of new information that is added to your credit report is a credit check monitoring service, which provides online monthly monitoring Alerts to inform you of new derogatory information, recent inquiries into your credit, and several indicators of possible credit fraud.
To have credit report information at your fingertips is the best way to shut an identity thief down–you can begin the process of notifying your creditors of the fraud, changing your passwords, and closing down fraudulent accounts before they wind up in the hands of collectors and compromise your good credit.
How Credit Fraud and Identity Theft Occur
Specific personal data, such as your Social Security number, home address, and mother’s maiden name, can be all a thief needs to obtain a fraudulent driver’s license, take over existing bank or credit accounts, divert card statements to a different address, or even apply for new credit card accounts under your name. Thieves can obtain this information in a variety of ways, including fishing through trash for account statements, lifting cards from lost or stolen purses, wallets, and briefcases, or through telephone or Internet scams.
How to Prevent Credit Fraud and Identity Theft
Customers may be in a position to prevent potential identity theft by closely guarding their personal data. For example, never give out your Social Security number over the phone unless you know the company you are dealing with and have initiated the call.
Similarly, if your mother’s maiden name is not likely to be a secure password, consider changing it to something a little more difficult for a thief to obtain. Also, carry only the cards you are actually going to use, and leave official documents like Social Security cards, passports, and birth certificates at home or in a safety deposit box.
Account Takeover Fraud
Credit card account statements contain a lot of sensitive information that you don’t want thieves to get a hold of, and even store receipts will frequently have your credit card number printed on them. Sometimes an account number is all a thief needs to make changes and obtain cash advances. It’s a good idea to shred all financial documents before discarding them.
A thief in possession of sensitive information about you may also be able to go one step further, and commit account takeover fraud, simply by calling your creditor, reading off your account number, a partial Social Security number, and your mother’s maiden name, and asking them to change the mailing address on the account. For this reason, if you don’t receive a credit card statement on time, you should call your creditor immediately to verify that the address has not been changed.
Pre-Approved Credit Offers
Another source of potential credit fraud is pre-approved credit offers. A thief who intercepts one may fill out the application and change the address to obtain a credit card in your name for which you will never receive a statement. (To combat this, some creditors will not issue a card to a new address on a pre-approved offer certificate, but this policy isn’t universal.) This makes checking your credit report especially important because it will show you if there are accounts being reported in your name of which you are not aware.
ALSO READ: Indians Feel AI Enhances Consumer Experience
The thief may even make the minimum payments for a while, until such time as the card is maxed out. Then the account would eventually be turned over for collections–in your name, and listed on your credit report.
A Credit Check Monitoring Service Can Help
In many cases, the only way you’ll catch credit fraud early is by obtaining a copy of your credit report. However, most consumers may not have time to order a copy of their credit report on a month-by-month basis and read through all the information looking for the items that may indicate possible credit fraud.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence, promotes some commercial links.)
One in three adults in the UK intends to use social media and personal messaging to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, while almost one in 10 intend to discourage people from getting vaccinated using the same platforms, finds new research.
The study, by Loughborough University researchers, is based on an October 2020 survey of 5,114 UK adults that explored how people’s attitudes and their consumption of Covid-19 news links to their intention to use social media and personal messaging apps to encourage or discourage vaccination. Around 57 percent were undecided on if or how they will endorse the vaccines online, which revealed the study to be published in the journal Social Media and Society.
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“Vaccine hesitancy is a longstanding problem, but it has assumed great urgency due to the pandemic. We know that people’s media diets provide them with the information they share online, and we know online endorsement can make a difference to people’s attitudes and decisions,” said Andrew Chadwick, a professor at the varsity.
“Our findings suggest that when people gain a broad perspective, from a range of different media and information sources, they gather evidence and are more likely to positively endorse vaccination online. This is good news for collective public health,” Chadwick added. The team identified ‘media diets’ for getting news and information about Covid-19 among the UK public.
It was then linked to vaccine hesitancy and two key attitudes: conspiracy mentality — the hostile distrust of public authorities based on the false belief that secret organizations influence political decisions — and the news finds me perception — where people give low priority to active monitoring of news and rely more on their online networks of friends for information. The findings showed a clear link between vaccine hesitancy and the intention to use social media and personal messaging apps to discourage others from getting vaccinated.
“Avoiding news and having a ‘news-finds-me’ attitude is perhaps most troubling, because this combination of factors links with the online discouragement of others from taking the vaccine,” Chadwick said. (IANS/SP)
About 44 percent of Indians feel that “information overload” has intensified during the pandemic and escalated their daily stress, a new survey revealed on Thursday.
According to the survey by Canada-based information management solutions company OpenText, the data suggested that this “information overload” is significantly impacting both personal and professional lives.
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“Users have proven willing to adopt new services and tools, but also face challenges in managing multiple accounts and sources of information,” Lou Blatt, SVP and CMO, OpenText, said in a statement.
“Companies need to recognize this trend and find ways to reduce complexity, simplify workflows and processes and create compelling customer and employee experiences,” Blatt added.
Faced with the prospect of working from home long term, more than one in five (21 percent) respondents admit remaining motivated would be their biggest challenge, 39 percent say accessing work email would be the main problem while 37 percent said accessing corporate file systems and work content would be the biggest issue.
The pandemic also brought in a slew of new challenges including work from home, yet almost one-third (30 percent) of respondents with an office job believe they still aren’t equipped with the right digital tools for remote work.
More than two in five (44 per cent) respondents believe that a more streamlined information database would be helpful to deal with the varied information sources such as emails, diaries, news feeds, company websites, calendars, etc, while making a work or home-life related decision.
Additionally, a similar number (43 percent) felt the need to remember multiple passwords to access each app has added to their anxieties.
“The research data reveals that a significant proportion of the working population struggles with accessing work emails and corporate file systems, thereby hampering their productivity,” said Isaac Rajkumar, Managing Director, India, and Vice President, Engineering.
With data stored in so many places, it is important to have a single information and content repository for managing all workflows smoothly and efficiently,” Rajkumar added.
The survey was conducted through 3GEM and Google and involved 24,000 consumers who were anonymously surveyed globally, across India, Japan, Brazil, Italy, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Canada, Australia, and Singapore.
However, a total of 6,000 Indian adults were part of this research. (IANS)