News and Information

  • Phishing Fraud during COVID-19

    Financial organizations have seen an increase in phishing events during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that you understand phishing events and educate your cardholders. Phishing events are when a fraudster attempts to steal a person’s data, mainly login credentials, and card information. The fraudster then uses this information to process fraudulent card transactions or ATM withdrawals. Fraudsters often utilize social media or information bought on the Dark Web to initiate scams.

    An example of the recent Phishing Attack:

    • The fraudster gathers information from social media to make the scam more believable.
    • Cardholder receives a phone call from the fraudster posing as a financial institution employee.
      • Fraudsters often spoof phone numbers from the financial institution when contacting the victim, making it seem legitimate.
    • Fraudster advises cardholder that they have fraud attempts on their card and they will receive a text with a case number.
      • While on the phone, the fraudster will perform a transaction they know will generate a fraud alert.
      • When the cardholder receives the case number, the fraudster asks for the case number over the phone so the card can be permanently blocked.

                        - Instead the fraudster is using the case number to call into the SecurLOCK IVR and validate the activity as valid, so they can continue to use the card fraudulently.

    • The fraudster may suggest the cardholder transfer money into their checking account from savings to make it “safer,” thereby giving the fraudster access to more money.
    • The cardholder thinks the fraud was caught and stopped, while the fraudster is busy committing more fraudulent transactions and stealing more money.

    Educating cardholders is one of the best lines of defense in preventing phishing attacks. Advising cardholders on how your financial institution and FIS interacts with them will mitigate losses due to this type of activity.

    FIS will never contact the cardholder to ask for the following:

    • Account Number/Card Number
    • CVV
    • PIN
    • Passwords
    • Social Security Number
    • Online Banking Credentials

    FIS will never advise a cardholder to transfer money or withdraw money. If any information concerning suspicious activity is texted to the cardholder, FIS does not call and ask the cardholder for the information. When cardholders call into SecurLOCK to validate suspicious transactions, FIS will request the case number to authenticate them. The cardholder should always reply NO if they are unaware of the transactions in question received via a text or email, no matter what direction has been given to them.


  • Tech Tips

    Scam of the Week: Friendly Spear Phishing

    Spear phishing is a phishing attack that targets a specific person and appears to come from a trusted source. One of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to find a target is through social media. Spear phishing attacks on social media often come from fake accounts, but in a recent scam, cybercriminals used real, compromised accounts. After hijacking an account, cybercriminals impersonated that person and targeted their friends and followers. 

    In this scam, cybercriminals use the hijacked account to engage in friendly conversations with you in an attempt to lower your guard. Since you don't know that the account has been hijacked, you are more likely to trust information that they send to you. Once they think they have your trust, the cybercriminals will send you a Microsoft Word document asking for you to review it and give them advice. Once you open the document, the program will ask you to enable macros. If you do enable macros, your system will automatically download and install a dangerous piece of malware. 

    Follow the steps below to stay safe from this scam:

    • Think about how a conversation with this person typically looks and feels. Do they usually ask you to download files? Are they typing with the same pace, grammar, and language as usual? Be suspicious of anything out of the ordinary.
    • Before you enable macros for a file, contact the sender by phone call or text message. Verify who created the file, what information the file contains, and why enabling macros is necessary.
    • Remember that cybercriminals can use more than just links within emails to phish for your information. Always think before you click!


    Tech Tip: Phony LinkedIn Job Postings

    It was recently discovered that job postings on LinkedIn aren’t as secure as you might expect. Anyone with a LinkedIn profile can anonymously create a job posting for nearly any small or medium-sized organization. The person creating the post does not have to prove whether or not they are associated with that organization. This means that a cybercriminal could post a job opening for a legitimate organization and then link applicants to a malicious website.

    Worse still, cybercriminals could use LinkedIn’s “Easy Apply” option. This option allows applicants to send a resume to the email address associated with the job posting without leaving the LinkedIn platform. Since the email address is associated with the job posting and not necessarily the organization, cybercriminals can trick you into sending your resume directly to them. Resumes typically include both personal and professional information that you do not want to share with a cybercriminal.

    Follow the tips below to stay safe from this unique threat:

    • Watch out for grammatical errors, unusual language, and style inconsistencies in LinkedIn job postings. Be suspicious of job postings that look different compared to other job postings from the same organization.
    • Avoid applying for a job within the LinkedIn platform. Instead, go to the organization’s official website to find their careers page or contact information.
    • If you find a suspicious job posting on LinkedIn, report it. To report a job posting, go to the Job Details page, click the more icon, and then click Report this job

    Tech Tip: COVID-19 Is the Never-ending Phish Bait

    Cybercriminals have used COVID-19 as phish bait since the start of the pandemic, and they’re not stopping any time soon. In a recent attack, scammers spoof your organization’s HR department and send a link to a “mandatory” vaccination status form. The phishing email claims that your local government requires all employees to complete the form. Failing to complete the form "could carry significant fines".

    If you click the link in the email, you are directed to a realistic but fake login page for the Microsoft Outlook Web App. If you try to log in, you are asked to “verify” your name, birth date, and mailing address by typing this information into the fields provided. Once submitted, your information is sent directly to the cybercriminals, and you are redirected to a real vaccination form from your local government. The good news is that this form isn't actually mandatory. The bad news is that giving cybercriminals your personal information may lead to consequences much worse than a fine.

    Remember these tips to avoid similar phishing attacks:

    • Watch out for a sense of urgency, especially when there is a threat of a fine or a penalty. These scams rely on impulsive actions, so always think before you click.
    • Never click on a link or download an attachment in an email that you were not expecting.
    • If you receive an unexpected email from someone within your organization, stay cautious. Contact the person by phone or on a messaging app to confirm that they actually sent the email.


    Scam of the Week: Exploiting the Coronavirus: “New Approved Vaccines” Infect Your System with Malware

    The COVID19 pandemic has led to many creative phishing attacks such as phony offers for free testing, claims that you have come in contact with an infected person, and even accusations that you have violated health and safety protocols. Scammers have come up with yet another Coronavirus-themed attack. This time, they are taking advantage of the worldwide race to develop a vaccine. 

    The phishing email uses the subject line “URGENT INFORMATION LETTER: COVID-19 NEW APPROVED VACCINES”. Within the email, you are directed to download an attachment to view this letter. The attachment itself is named “Download_Covid 19 New approved vaccines.23.07.2020.exe”. If you were to download and open this file, you would find that it is actually a piece of malicious software designed to gather data such as usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information.

    Don’t be fooled! Remember these tips:

    • Watch for sensational words like “URGENT”. Remember, the bad guys want you to panic and click without thinking.
    • Never download an attachment from an email you weren’t expecting. 
    • Don’t trust an email. Instead, visit an official government website or a trusted news source for information on vaccine developments.

    Stop, Look, and Think. Don't be fooled.


    Scam of the Week: Smishing for Access to Your Bank Account

    Emails are a quick and easy way for cybercriminals to phish for your information—but it’s not their only tool. Smishing, or SMS Phishing, is another way the bad guys try to trick you. Many of us are used to receiving legitimate promotions, reminders, and security notifications via text message. These messages—both real and fake—are brief and often include links, so it can be difficult to spot a smishing attempt.

    One recent example involves scammers posing as your local postal service while sending malicious text messages as part of their smishing attack. The message claims that you have a package waiting for pick up, but to see more information you must click the link in the text. If you click the link, you’re taken to a phony verification page. Here, you’re asked to enter your banking information to verify your identity. If you provide any information on this page, your data is sent directly to the cybercriminals—giving them full access to your bank account. Don’t be fooled!

    Here’s how to stay safe from this smishing attack:

    • Think before you click. Are you expecting a package? Is this how the postal service usually handles things? Consider anything out of the ordinary a red flag.
    • Never trust a link in an email or text message that you were not expecting. Instead of clicking the link, open your browser and type the official URL of the website you wish to visit.
    • Go old school. Pick up the phone and call your local post office. Be sure to call their official phone number—not the one that sent you the suspicious text message.

    Stop, Look, and Think. Don't be fooled.


    Scam of the Week: Exploiting the Coronavirus: A Sneaky Pandemic Relief Scam

    A new phishing email—seemingly sent from your local government funding agency—is offering phony relief grants to those in need. What makes this scam especially sneaky is that the bad guys use a Dropbox link to disguise their malicious attachment. Dropbox is a legitimate and commonly-used file sharing service. Therefore, the email security filters that your organization has in place may not consider the link as a red flag–increasing the chances of this email landing in your inbox.

    The phishing email urges you to click a Dropbox link so you can download a file that supposedly contains information about your relief grant payment. The link even includes an expiration date for an added sense of urgency. If you click the link, then, download and open the phony file, you’re taken to a look-a-like Microsoft 365 login page. If you enter any information on this page it will be sent directly to the scammers.

    Remember these tips:

    • Never click a link or download an attachment from an email that you weren’t expecting. Even if the sender appears to be a legitimate organization, the email address could be spoofed.
    • Be cautious of unexpected deadlines. Scammers often create a sense of urgency to spark impulsive clicks.
    • Get confirmation before clicking a Dropbox link. If you feel the file could be a legitimate resource for your organization, reach out to the sender another way—like by phone—instead of trusting the email.

    Stop, Look, and Think. Don't be fooled.


    Scam of the Week: SpaceX YouTube Scam

    Scammers recently hijacked three YouTube channels and used them to collect nearly $150,000 in cryptocurrency. They used these stolen channels to impersonate the official SpaceX YouTube channel. The hijackers played fake live stream interviews with Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, while promoting bogus cryptocurrency giveaways. These giveaways are based on an old-school scamming tactic in which cyber criminals ask for a small payment while promising a large payout for the so-called investment.

    This scam was successful for two main reasons: First, using existing YouTube channels gave the cybercriminals a large, trusting audience of subscribers. Second, the scammer’s “investment offer” appeared to be coming from the well-known, tech-savvy billionaire, Elon Musk–rather than from a random stranger–so it seemed to be more legitimate.

    Here’s what we can learn from this scam:

    • If something seems too good to be true–like an unbelievable investment opportunity–it probably is! Question everything.
    • Whether it’s a phony website, a disguised email address, or a hijacked YouTube channel, anyone and anything can be spoofed.
    • Experts speculate that the scammers gained access to these YouTube channels through a data breach of a different website. This is a great example of why you must use a different password for every login.

    Stop, Look, and Think. Don't be fooled.


    Scam of the Week: Exploiting the Coronavirus - Excel Attachment Phishing Campaign

    Microsoft has reported a massive phishing campaign that uses an Excel attachment as bait. The phishing email looks like it is from the Coronavirus Research Center of John Hopkins University–a well known medical organization in the US. The email includes an Excel attachment that is disguised as an updated list of Coronavirus-related deaths, but the file actually contains a hidden piece of malware.

    If you open the infected Excel file and click “Enable Content” when prompted, a program called NetSupport Manager will be automatically installed on to your computer. This program is a tool that allows someone to access your computer remotely. Cybercriminals are using NetSupport Manager to gain complete control over a victim’s system; allowing them to steal sensitive data, install more malicious software, and even use the machine for criminal activities. Don’t be a victim!

    Here are some ways to protect yourself from this scam:

    • Think before you click! The bad guys know that you want to stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 data so they use this as bait. They’re trying to trick you into impulsively clicking and downloading their malware.
    • Never download an attachment from an email that you weren’t expecting. Remember, even if the sender appears to be a legitimate organization, the email address could be spoofed.
    • Always go to the source. Any time you receive an email that claims to have updated COVID-19 data, use your browser to visit the official website instead of opening an attachment or clicking a link.

    Stop, Look, and Think. Don't be fooled.

    Scam of the Week: Exploiting the Coronavirus: From Unemployed to Money Mule

    Due to the Coronavirus crisis, unemployment numbers have skyrocketed. As usual, the bad guys are quick to take advantage of these hard times and are sending out phony work-from-home opportunities. Typically, these phishing emails contain grammar mistakes and offer minimal details about the hiring company and the job requirements. But the scammers still manage to grab your attention because the job opportunity includes a great paycheck.

    Once accepted, these scammers ease the victim into their new "job", by asking them to complete basic errands, but eventually, they’re given the task of transferring funds from one account to another. Typically, these are stolen funds and the unsuspecting "employee" is being used as a money mule. Even though these victims are unaware of the crime they are committing, they can still face hefty fines and prison time.

    Remember these tips and share them with your friends and family who may be looking for work:

    • Be wary of emails with spelling or grammatical errors.
    • Never trust unusual requests or job offers. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
    • If you feel you have been solicited to be a money mule, contact your local authorities or report the situation to the appropriate federal agency.

    Stop, Look, and Think. Don't be fooled.


    Scam of the Week: Exploiting the Coronavirus: Netflix is More Popular Than Ever - Especially with Cybercriminals

    Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, bad guys were spoofing Netflix emails in an attempt to collect your sensitive information. With more and more people looking for at-home entertainment, Netflix has gained over 15 million new subscribers. Cybercriminals are happily taking advantage of this larger audience!

    Netflix themed phishing attacks can vary from phony email alerts accusing you of non-payment to offering you free streaming access during the pandemic. Both of these strategies include a link that takes you to a fake Netflix page designed to gather your information and deliver it to the bad guys.

    Use the following tips to stay safe:

    • These types of scams aren’t limited to Netflix. Other streaming services like Disney+ and Spotify are also being spoofed. Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
    • Never click on a link that you weren’t expecting. Even if it appears to be from a company or service you recognize.
    • When an email asks you to log in to an account or online service, log in to your account through your browser - not by clicking the link in the email. This way, you can ensure you’re logging into the real website and not a phony look-alike.

    Stop, Look, and Think. Don't be fooled.


    Tech Tip - Scam of the Week - Exploiting the Coronavirus:  Re-opening your organization? The bad guys have a plan!

    Recently, some countries have chosen to lift restrictions that were originally put in place to control the spread of COVID-19. Beware! The bad guys are already taking advantage of this news. They have crafted a well-written phishing email that appears to come from the VP of Operations in your organization. The message claims that your organization has a plan for reopening, and it instructs you to click on a link to see this plan. Clicking the link opens what appears to be a login page for Office365, but don’t be fooled! If you enter your username and password on this page, you would actually send your sensitive credentials directly to the bad guys.

    Here’s how to protect yourself from this clever attack:

    • Never click on a link or an attachment that you weren’t expecting. Even if it appears to be from someone in your own organization, the sender’s email address could be spoofed. When in doubt, reach out to the sender by phone to confirm the legitimacy of the email before clicking.
    • When an email asks you to log in to an account, do not click the link in the email. Instead, go directly to the website through your browser. This ensures you are accessing the real page and keeping your credentials safe.
    • This attack tries to exploit the restlessness and uncertainty of life in quarantine. Don’t let the bad guys toy with your emotions. Think before you click!

    Stop, Look, and Think. Don't be fooled.


    Tech Tip - Scam of the Week - Exploiting the Coronavirus: Is the CDC Closing Your Facility?

    As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the bad guys find increasingly creative ways to weaken your defenses. The newest phishing trend is an email that appears to be from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The email has an intense subject line: “NOTICE OF CLOSING YOUR FACILITY AND DISINFECT NG THE AREA - BY NCDC WH 20982 COV-19 Due To Recent Corona Virus COVID-19 Pandemic.”

    You’re instructed to download an attachment which is supposedly a letter from the CDC claiming that they will close your facility. If you download the file, you’d find that it is actually a malicious program designed to gain access to your company’s sensitive information. Don’t be tricked!

    How to beat the bad guys:

    • Think before you click. These malicious actors are playing with your emotions and this threat relies on panicked clicking.
    • Never click a link or download an attachment from an email you weren’t expecting. Remember, even if the sender appears to be a legitimate organization, the email address could be spoofed.
    • If you receive a suspicious email that claims to be from an official organization such as the CDC or WHO (World Health Organization), report the email to the official organization through their website.

    Stop, Look, and Think. Don't be fooled.

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