Tag Archives: FBI warnings

Smartphone Users Under Attack From Malware


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While many smartphone users take extreme care to protect their computers from malware and viruses, the same can’t be said for their smartphones. Many users think of their phones as a mini computer, but still fail to take the proper precautions for protection. With the latest round of malware affecting Android smartphones, it’s plain to see that something needs to be done. Let’s take a closer look at the latest threats as well as how to protect your smartphone.

 The Latest Malware Scams

Two malware scams have recently came to the forefront and it seems the attacks are being targeted at Android smartphones. Named Loozfon and FinFisher, these threats can not only affect your phone, but may affect the phones of your contacts as well. The first piece of malware in question, Loozfon, uses the promise of online work from home jobs to lure smartphone users to the website, where the malware is loaded onto the phone. The malware then accesses the information of the user’s contacts and the user.

FinFisher is a bit different in that the spyware is installed onto the phone in order for the attacker to be able to remotely control the phone. The malware may be placed on the phone after visiting a certain website or the user may receive a text message with a link that leads to a supposedly important update. Of course, both of these scams are just two of the newest malware scams to affect smartphone users. There are many more out there waiting for the opportunity to infect your phone.

How to Keep Your Smartphone Safe Continue reading Smartphone Users Under Attack From Malware

New E-Mail Scams and Warnings: Citadel Malware Want to Extort Money


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The FBI warns of another new virus making its rounds on the Internet and it does more than just try to shut down your computer. It also attempts to get money and credit card information from those affected.  When the computer is rebooted or restarted, a screen comes up telling the user that they have violated federal laws and that they now owe a fine.  Once the fine is paid, the virus continues working in the background and can steal credit card or banking information.

The following are the details of this virus attack:

Citadel Malware
This new Citadel malware has been established strictly to extort money from users who do not know any better.  When the computer is restarted or rebooted, an official looking screen from the FBI informs the computer user that the computer’s IP address has been locked. It states that this is due to child pornography or other misuse of the internet.  The user then must send $100 to the FBI as a fine through a throwaway prepaid money card.  This is called “ransomware” and is not something that the federal government has put on the computer.

Ransomware
Ransomware is a virus that specifically asks those who are affected to pay money to unlock their computer.  Once the amount requested has been paid, the computer is unlocked and can be used again.  Neither the FBI nor any other government agency would lock a computer due to any Internet browsing activity.  If they think there is something going on that requires their attention, they will seize the computer from the home and take it to their lab for further investigation.  Never pay a ransom such as this, no matter how official it may look.

Eradicating the Virus
If your virus protection software is not up to date then you need to do so immediately before you get the virus.  In the event that it is already on the computer, it must be taken to a professional who can get rid of the virus.  The only other way to remove it is to download software but that is not practical when the computer is locked.  Never send any money to anyone who states that is the only way to unlock the computer.  You also should also contact your banking institutions and let them know you have the virus and then file a complaint here.

The FBI reminds us:

To report potential e-scams, please go the Internet Crime Complaint Center and file a report. Note: the FBI does not send mass e-mails to private citizens about cyber scams, so if you received an e-mail that claims to be from the FBI Director or other top official, it is most likely a scam.

If you receive unsolicited e-mail offers or spam, you can forward the messages to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

It is never fun getting a virus but most virus protection software can handle finding and removing the small ones.  This type of ransomware malware is relatively new and your virus protection needs to be up to date in order for it to be productive.  If you do get this virus, take your computer immediately to a professional who can safely and completely remove it and then file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

 

 

Guest post by Lisa Mason.  Lisa Mason is a freelance writer and VP of Special Media for Social Media Sun.

Counterfeit check fraud schemes target U.S. law firms


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Press release from the FBI 

03/12/12—The IC3 continues to receive reports of counterfeit check schemes targeting U.S. law firms. The scammers contact lawyers via e-mail, claiming to be overseas and requesting legal representation in collecting a debt from third parties located in the U.S. The law firms receive a retainer agreement and a check payable to the law firm. The firms are instructed to deposit the check, take out retainer fees, and wire the remaining funds to banks in China, Korea, Ireland, or Canada. After the funds are wired overseas, the checks are determined to be counterfeit.

In a slight variation of the scheme’s execution, the victim law firm receives an e-mail from what appears to be an attorney located in another state requesting assistance for a client. The client needs aid in collecting a debt from a company located in the victim law firm’s state. In some cases, the name of the referring attorney and the debtor company used in the e-mail were verified as legitimate entities and were being used as part of the scheme. The law firm receives a signed retainer agreement and a check made payable to the law firm from the alleged debtor. The client instructs the law firm to deposit the check and to wire the funds, minus all fees, to an overseas bank account. The law firm discovers after the funds are wired that the check is counterfeit.

Law firms should use caution when engaging in transactions with parties who are handling their business solely via e-mail, particularly those parties claiming to reside overseas. Attorneys who agree to represent a client in circumstances similar to those described above should consider incorporating a provision into their retainer agreement that allows the attorney to hold funds received from a debtor for a sufficient period of time to verify the validity of the check.

True crime examples include:

This Charleston law firm reported being “scammed” out of $390,000 with this type of scheme.  Other law firms in the area report similar methods of being approached. These cases were tracked to Japan, Canada and Nigeria.

The Attorney General of Michigan offers this information on counterfeit check fraud schemes, which targeted not only law firms but individuals, mystery shoppers, and hotels.

The California Bar Journal provides this article  and warns that not only could the law firm be “on the hook” for the outstanding funds with the bank due to a counterfeit check scheme, but that they could possibly come under investigation by the California State Bar Association and how scams like this damage a law firm or attorney’s reputation.

One variation on the counterfeit check cashing scheme involves Continue reading Counterfeit check fraud schemes target U.S. law firms