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US prepares for increase of cyber attacks amid Russian invasion of Ukraine

As Russia invades Ukraine, security experts warn us about the possibility of increased cyber-attacks.
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Blocking spam e-mail, warning pop-up for phishing mail, network security concept. Business woman working on laptop computer at home with warning window on screen

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Now, as Russia invades Ukraine, security experts warn us about seeing more cyber attacks.

This time, there could be a big difference. We might not be able to get things back online as quickly as we usually would. 

“This is similar to ransomware in that it locks the systems, but instead of demanding a ransom, it's not extortion, you just wipe all the information, you brick those systems," Scott Shackleford, Chair of Cybersecurity Risk Management, Indiana University, said. 

American leaders worried, including Gov. Cooper. 

On top of the fact that tech company embroker said cyber-attack risks have already gone up in recent years. Cyber-attacks skyrocketed 600% during the pandemic. Embroker expects cyber attacks to double by 2025.

One cyber security expert in the Triad said everyone is vulnerable right now.

 “You are a target, and by you, I'm saying that to anyone who hears this." Joe Steinberg, a cyber security expert, explains. 

Phishing is a common cyber-attack/scam.

Three red flags 

  • It sounds too good to be true
  • They will have a sense of urgency
  • They will ask for sensitive info

When getting an email and you think it might be off, hover your mouse arrow over the link. Do not click it on it. Hover over it to see the address to where the link takes you pops up. If it looks off or strange, hit the delete button.

Thumb Drive Scam 

Phishing can be done in real life too. Not just over email. It can happen when someone sneaks into a business or even outside in a parking lot. Someone can drop a random THUMB drive on the ground in hopes of an employee picking it up.

One time the scammer even labeled it as payroll so people would be extra excited to stick in a computer and see how much everyone at their office made. Doing that lets hackers install software across a company network and take over.

Fed-Ex Smishing Scam 

Phishing has also morphed into smishing. You get a text from a random number saying you need to click a link. Whatever you do, don't click it! 

For example, right now, a Fed-Ex smishing scam is spreading vastly. It is disguised as a 'tracking code" for a package on the way. The text asked users to enter their "delivery preferences" and provide their credit card information. It automatically signed people up for a monthly bill charging their account nearly $100. If you get a text like that,  don't reply. Don't click the link but do some research before acting.

Preventative Measures

As the cyber security threat keeps amping up, companies across the United States are fighting back. Meta and Twitter both said they'll start flagging any content on their sites from Russian state media. Meta says they are also blocking all ads from Russian media companies and demonetizing their accounts. 

Currently, the government is working with companies to prepare them against hackers.

 

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