Member Alerts: Cybersecurity; Telephone Scam

New Type of Cybersecurity Threat
From Ptolemy Data Systems, (307) 675-6651

Keyboard LockBe aware that the recent increase in Cybersecurity threats could affect your computer networks. We encourage businesses to exercise caution on email communications and social media outlets.

Over the past couple of months, a widespread variant of a “crypto malware” or “ransom ware” has been detected globally. This malware is stealthy and has eluded firewalls, anti-malware, and anti-virus solutions. The malware specifically targets Microsoft Office and Open Office documents, databases, and other types of typical business data. This particular threat is designed to encrypt these file types with the key to those files being held on a “command and control” server elsewhere in the world.

The user will typically see a pop-up indicating that for some price, the user’s affected files can be recovered. This 9-minute YouTube video, released in late October, gives a great explanation about how one of the newest of these viruses – called CryptoLocker – works.

Some tips to decrease your vulnerability:

* Ensure you have up-to-date Anti-Virus and Malware protection. Run a scan for both.

* Do not open emails from unknown sources.

* Take caution opening attachments or clicking on links sent by email.

* If you are not expecting an email from a well-known company such as UPS, Wells Fargo, Xerox, etc., and you do get one, it is most likely a threat. Exercise caution.

* Steer clear of social media sites, especially on your company’s network.

* Do not download updates that just pop up. Instead, launch updates through the program itself.

 * Make sure you are backing up your data. Review your backup solution and make sure your backup history looks normal and current.

 If you are infected or find any of your data has been corrupted, it is not recoverable. The only true protection is to back up your data now.

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IRS Warning on Pervasive Telephone Scam
From Mohatt, Rinaldo, Johnson & Godwin, LLP, (307) 672-6494

IRS logoFrom the IRS, October 31 –

The Internal Revenue Service today warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves,” says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail.

Click here for the full IRS release, which includes other characteristics of this scam AND what you should do if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS.

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