Scammers are using fake antivirus bills to hack your computer

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Email security firm Vade Secure uncovered an ongoing tech-support scam that uses fake antivirus invoices to trick users into enabling remote access to their computers.

The news is the latest in a surge in the number of tech-support scams that begin by circulating fake invoices for well-known security software, with Malwarebytes sharing details about one such incidient recently.


Broward schools hackers are a new crew of ransomware scammers looking to make millions

The hackers who tried to extort Broward County Public Schools for millions early this month are a tight-knit crew of ransomware scammers tied to nearly 300 attacks over the last five months, according to security experts.

Conti, as the group is known, first appeared near the tail end of 2020, said Chester Wisniewski, a principal research scientist at Sophos, a global cyber-security company that monitors ransomware threats.

The group, Wisniewski said, has set its sights on local governments, hospitals and now school districts. They pick the targets, he said, because security systems are often weak, overlooked and underfunded.

Wisniewski said Conti is a relatively new group among a dozen or so “big game hunter” crews in the ransomware underworld that collect million-dollar payouts by marshaling coordinated attacks on businesses and organizations.

Most crews, he said, operate out of Russia or nearby countries that don’t extradite criminals to the U.S.

After getting individuals within their target companies or organizations to allow them access into systems through spam emails, fake websites or other tricks, they set about gathering sensitive data like Social Security numbers, dates of birth and financial records and holding them hostage until a ransom is paid.

Often ransoms are paid in Bitcoin, a cyber currency that Wisniewski said can be quickly laundered into other cryptocurrencies that are hard to trace.

In February, the FBI reported that over $144 million in Bitcoin has been paid out in ransoms between 2013 and 2019.

Wisniewski said ransomware attacks have been around since the 1990s but they have become more sophisticated and gone after bigger and bigger targets since 2013.

A national cyber task force made up of 15 government agencies investigates the attacks in the U.S., according to the FBI. The task force particularly focuses on attacks of networks that belong to hospitals, local governments, municipalities, and police and fire departments.

“These types of attacks can delay first responders in responding to emergencies or prevent a hospital from accessing lifesaving equipment,” an FBI release said in February. “It is imperative these organization be prepared…


Is your smartphone safe from scammers? Why you could be at risk

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Cybercriminals are targeting cell phones this holiday season. (Photo: Getty Images)
Cybercriminals are targeting cell phones this holiday season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Call 2020 the Year of the Phish. “Phishing” is when cyber criminals try to extract your confidential information by sending a phony email or SMS text (in which case it’s called “smishing”) that appears to be from a trusted source. It has long been their most successful “threat action,” and now the bad guys are targeting your mobile devices.

According to a new report by Lookout, a mobile security platform, 88 percent of US consumer phishing attacks in 2020 have targeted mobile devices.

Why the uptick? The COVID-19 pandemic has more of us are working at home, using our phones and tablets to keep in touch and attending virtual meetings.

Also, as Threatpost editor-in-chief Tom Spring explains, manufacturers’ safeguards are not quite where they need to be. “The type of protections that exist on Mac and Windows operating systems aren’t as mature in the mobile space,” he tells Yahoo Life. “They’re getting there but criminals are taking advantage of new opportunities as they crop up.”

If your internet connection suddenly gets slower, if you’re data consumption spikes, or if your battery life starts to sag, you may have been infected with a malicious app. So say the good folks at Norton Security Online, which offers an array of rock-solid protections against phishing, smishing, viruses, and malware.

Norton Security Online provides state-of-the-art encryption and real-time protection from viruses, spyware, malware and scammers across 5 of your devices and will alert you to security and privacy risks when you’re talking, texting or typing away at home or at a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Small screen, big danger: Be sure to scrutinize URLs that arrive via text. (Photo: Getty Images)
Small screen, big danger: Be sure to scrutinize URLs that arrive via text. (Photo: Getty Images)

It isn’t just the lack of built-in software protection that makes your cellphone so vulnerable. It’s also the small screen that makes it harder for you to…