by Joel Saltzman
After a 30 year career in the wireless information technology industry, I've decided it's time to shift gears. My plan is to retire from the IT industry at year's end and focus my full attention on the surfing industry, as CEO of Corky Carroll's Blue Mango Surf Company.
Before I do that however, there are several new cyber security threats that, unlike ransomware, target the little guys (like us). Just because I'm done activating and selling wireless communication services does not mean that my previous clients can't call me for FREE advice. I still have all the resources, knowledge and training to help my clients make all the right choices in regards to the internet. Lately, I've been personally besieged with internet scams and cyber ploys and have been hearing my friends have been too. Here are some of the common ploys and tips on what to do if any of the below should happen to you.
1) Getting an e-mail claiming you have been hacked and demanding a Bitcoin payment
This has become so prevalent that many of my friends have also received this as well as me multiple times. It usually shows an old password that was revealed from one of the many previous hacks on large companies or healthcare organizations. Usually, the provided password is legit, but ancient and has likely has since been replaced. The perpetrators send an e-mail saying that they have taken remote control of your browser. They then claim to have taped you watching porn and threaten to send it to your contact list, unless you pay them a bitcoin payment. The extortion amount is usually under $1000 and the bad guys are hoping you buy their story. If the password was valid but long since changed, just ignore the e-mail and delete it. If it is still current, change it immediately.
2) The New Subscription you never subscribed too
I recently received an e-mail that I initially thought was a prank by my buddies. It was an e-mail asking me to please validate my new subscription to gay porn. It welcomed me as a new subscriber and stated that I needed to click one of two links. The first one was to accept. The second one was to decline it. I obviously ignored them both and did nothing. I then received another e-mail but this time stating that if I did not respond, they will assume I have signed up for this and send me "no more than 200 e-mails per day". I've come to the conclusion that these idiots are selling e-mail listings and using this ploy to scare people into validating that their e-mail address is legitimate. Do not respond to this or you will likely soon be getting lots of bogus e-mail solicitations.
3) The e-mail from a friend with a link attached
Not a day goes by without me receiving an e-mail with one of my friends names with a suspicious link to click on. Don't do it! Just because you receive an e-mail showing it was sent by a friend does not mean it is safe. One of the first things I do is wave my mouse over the "friends" name to reveal the true e-mail address it came from. Often times, it's the friend's name, but their e-mail address is totally bogus. Never click on an internet link that you are unsure of. This is the most common way to get a malware virus, spyware, or bloatware which slows down your computer.
4) Phishing e-mails from "Credit Bureaus, Banks, e-Bay, PayPal etc...
About once a week, I get a "Credit monitoring bureau" e-mail warning me that my credit rating just experienced a major change. These e-mails provide a link to log-in directly. The majority of the time, when I waive my mouse over the sender, it reveals it was not sent by the entity represented. Never log into any URL provided by an e-mail. Always initiate a fresh log-in with your browser.
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.