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5299Cyber Scam Predictions for 2014 - Community Advisory

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  • Cathy Plevy
    Jan 15, 2014
      Leading online security vendors are reviewing recent trends of trickery
      – to predict the top cyber scams of 2014. Some notables worth a

      TVs watching you. Many traditionally “dumb” devices are getting
      “smarter” – televisions, gaming systems and even baby monitors
      are being connected to the Internet and often contain cameras or
      microphones. So, many cybercops predict them to be a magnet for attack,
      such as remote spying. (Think: While you’re watching TV, scammers are
      watching you from afar.) Expect more focus from the security folks on
      closing current vulnerabilities on the many devices connected to the
      “Internet of Things” – and more emphasis for owners of such
      gizmos to update their security software.

      Ransomware will become an even bigger threat. In this scam, the crooks
      remotely freeze your computer, then demand money to make it work again.
      They may pretend to be the FBI, saying you’ve been watching
      pornographic shows. Or they may offer to sell you bogus security
      software to remove a supposed online virus. The FBI and others strongly
      advise you don’t pay, since that can just lead to more extortion.
      Ransomware is also expected to move from computers to include
      smartphones and other devices.

      “Show Us Your Modern Family” Photo Contest. Upload your photo for a
      chance to be photographed in a magazine. See official rules.

      Destroying data rather than collecting it. In the past, cybercrooks
      primarily focused on collecting sensitive data for profit. But in 2013,
      according to an IBM Cyber Security Intelligence report, there’s been
      an increase in sabotage vs. espionage attacks – hackers get inside big
      institutional systems and erase huge volumes of data. The take-home
      message: Securely back up on thumb drives or other “offline” storage
      devices info you don’t want to lose in corporate security breaches.

      Loving the “Like.” In addition to schemes on Facebook that use the
      “Like” button to lure you to reveal personal information in order to
      watch videos or get “free” prizes, beware of mobile apps that
      promise to secure you more “Likes.” Already, reports Symantec, more
      than 100,000 people revealed their login details to a dubious Russian
      behind one app promising more “Likes” for users’ Instagram

      More mobile malware. Cybercrooks used to focus their attacks mainly on
      desktop computers. In recent years they’ve been expanding to include
      smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices – and that trend is
      expected to continue in 2014. So it’s a great time to brush up on ways
      to secure your smartphone and other devices.

      Targeting software developers. Remember October’s data breach of
      Adobe’s computer system, which leaked names, encrypted credit and
      debit card numbers and other sensitive information of millions of
      customers? Kaspersky predicts more of the same, with hackers increasing
      their efforts on companies that develop software. It’s another reason
      to take heed of headlines reporting such attacks – and quickly utilize
      security updates and patches that are issued after the breaches occur.

      *Sid Kirchheimer

      Catherine E. Plevy
      Executive Assistant
      Public Information Officer (PIO)
      Office of the Chief of Police
      7500 Maple Avenue
      Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
      (301) 891-7142

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