SALT LAKE CITY — In the past several years, the rate of cybercrime has grown exponentially, and the FBI says you may be a victim without even knowing it.
Cybercrime is not a traditional crime and suspects are much harder to find due to its digital nature, taking place not only on a local level but on a global level as well.
Jeff Collins, Supervisory Special Agent, who is with the FBI Salt Lake City Division’s Cyber Task Force explained to KSL’s Debbie Dujanovic the concept of cybercrimes and how they not only affect your average user cleaning out their email but both small and large businesses, costing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time.
“Our number one cyber threat we’re seeing now are business e-mail compromises, ” said Collins.
The scam can go so far as persuading a business that the hacker is a high ranking official, such as a Chief Financial Officer within the fake company in order to convince the victim to wire money.
“The business doesn’t think anything of it, they don’t verify it, and they will wire money,” Collins explained.
While there are many ways to prevent such scams, including contacting the companies IT department and deleting suspicious emails, the best approach is to just simply pick up the phone.
“With these scams, I tell people the easiest way to prevent this is to pick up the phone. Pick up the phone and call the other business you’re sending money to and confirm or verify that the banking instructions are correct,” he added.
The second biggest type of cybercrime the Cyber Task Force combats is ransomware. Ransomware is an insidious type of malware that encrypts or locks, valuable digital files and demands a ransom to release them.
“The criminals are requesting payment, in order to decrypt or give you your files back,” Collins said in regards to ransomware.
Sometimes the damage can be so bad that the files are unable to be retrieved, even after taking it to a professional.
“The best way to prevent this problem is to keep backups. Keep them disconnected from the computer, in case your files are ever encrypted,” said Collins.
There are multiple ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a cybercrime though, including being aware and paying attention when browsing the internet, staying up-to-date on all of your devices, and last but not least, update your password.
“Consistently, we have most of the public using very weak passwords, things like password1. I like to recommend people to choose passwords that are really good. One way to do that is, think of a phrase or think of a sentence and choose the first word of every sentence and use that as your password,” Collins said.
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