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Posts published in “Cybercrime”

How to Prevent Scams from Quickly Happening to your Firm

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When it comes to scams, experts say, it is not a matter of IF a law firm will be targeted but WHEN. Law firm data is some of the most coveted and confidential hidden treasure in the world. Hackers and scammers know data is a precious resource...so, as a law firm, you, are their big red target.

What are some ways you can better prepare your solo, small, medium, or large firm for some of the wackiest, craziest, and disguised scams? Check out our 20 tips below.

20 Tips for Law Firms on How to Educate and Prevent Scams

1.      Follow the FTC website and US-CERT for privacy, identity, and online security updates.

2.      Hire certified professionals to support/update your computer hardware and software.

3.      Update anti-virus/security software on a regular basis. This is especially important with ransomware like WannaCry and a cyberthreat called Petya roaming the internet.

4.      Make sure your pop-up filter is up-to-date (comes with most security software).

5.      Always check links before clicking on them. Look for misspellings or other irregularities. Hover over the link before you click on it.

6.      Always make sure site URLS indicate HTTPS before using them.

7.      Email messages from friends or from companies you trust require scrutiny. Treat emails, links, and attachments with suspicion. Call to verify that entity/friend sent it to you.

8.      Don’t follow links in bank emails, etc. Instead use your browser to enter the URL.

9.      Never use public Wi-Fi or hotspots. Be careful with private Wi-Fi connections that you are not sure what the security measures are.

10. Contact hardware/software companies directly for assistance. Do not trust companies that contact you directly (with the initiated call).

11. Never allow a “company” (no matter who) perform a “free security scan”.

12. If you get a call from a company or someone claiming to be tech support, hang up.

13. If you get a pop-up message that tells you to call tech support, ignore it.

14. If your computer brings up a concern you are not sure about, call your security software company directly but do not use the phone number in the pop-up or on caller ID. Instead, look for the company’s contact information online or on a software package or your receipt.

15. Never share your passwords or give control to your computer to anyone who contacts you.

16. Change any passwords that you share with someone. Assign unique passphrases to every online account.

17. If you pay for bogus services with a credit card, call the credit card company directly and ask them to reverse the charges.

18. Watch for unauthorized charges to your accounts. Also, watch for unauthorized activity on your computers.

19. Never reveal personal or financial information in emails or text messages.

20. Report scams to www.ftc.gov/complaint. Report computer security incidents to US-CERT https://www.us-cert.gov/forms/report and the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.

P.S. If you've been impacted by a scam or technical attack that your fellow Bar members should know about, please share your experience with us by emailing pmap@scbar.org.

Bluetooth Users: Beware of Bluesnarfing!

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Do you enable Bluetooth on your phone, tablet, or mobile devices? If the answer is yes, you might want to reconsider (like me)!

Yesterday, I was the unlucky receiver of a rare (but not unusual) cyberattack: an attack to phish data with enabled Bluetooth! Picture this: While in my car using Bluetooth listening to music on my iPhone (my Android phone's Bluetooth was also enabled), I suddenly noticed something or someone trying to enter passwords to log in to my phones! At first, I thought I accidentally activated the login screen, but after a few minutes of studying what was going on, it was evident that someone was trying to access my phones’ data. I literally could see someone trying to enter a password on the login screen and then all of a sudden receive a failed attempt message (which also appeared on my screen). Whoever it was – kept doing it – untill I finally shut off the Bluetooth in my car, on the phones, and changed passwords.

After conducting some research, I discovered that cybercriminals within Bluetooth range are using Bluetooth as a tool to collect victim's personal data, called Bluesnarfing. They do this through a piece of software that enables them to download photos, text messages, music, passwords, and even confidential information like your banking records.

These types of attacks happen more than people realize and too many are unaware. With the confidential data that passes through or is stored on lawyers' devices, it is important that we all take precautionary measures. Regardless of which device you own, here are a couple of important tips to remember:

  1. Only use Bluetooth when absolutely necessary and only use public Wi-Fi with a reliable VPN. Turn Bluetooth and Wi-Fi off when you are not using them (althought it is always best not to use public Wi-Fi).
  2. Keep your device's software, apps, and operating system up to date. Allow automatic updates by the maker. If there are apps or programs you are no longer using - properly delete them.
  3. If you can, regularly check the internet to see if there are any important security/privacy settings you should change (view these setting updates for iPhone/iPad users and these setting updates for Android phone/tablet users)
  4. Change passwords / passcodes on a regular basis. Remember security experts now say it is better to have a longer password than it is to have a complicated password. (Hint: Set passwords to favorite sentences, phrases, songs, movie lines, etc. that no one else would know - although sentences of random words you can remember work best.) If your phone does not allow you to change passcodes (numbers) to long passwords, regularly change and reset your passcode on a weekly basis (or everytime you active public Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) and make it longer than 4 digits.
  5. When safe, always keep your devices in plain view sight and within your hand’s reach.
  6. Avoid storing information like passwords, banking information, and highly sensitive data on your devices. Use a password vault instead.

Follow SC Bar PMAP for further updates and if you see any articles or blog posts on this issue elsewhere, please email me at eworley@scbar.org .

How to Stay Safe Online During the Holiday Season

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The holiday shopping season is here, and many busy lawyers and IT-centric folk will do the majority of their shopping online. Here are some important online shopping tips from Stay Safe Online to keep in mind throughout the month. Additionally, be sure to be vigilant with email threats as this is the perfect time of year where hackers attempt every online scam possible. Review these tips to help you recognize holiday phishing scams and malware campaigns from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, and be sure to follow these tips should you believe you are a victim to these crimes. Safe online shopping to all from your Bar's Practice Management Assistance Program. Email pmap@scbar.org for assistance.

 

Other Resources

Watch Out for these 3 Online Shopping Scams by Techlicious

Scams and Safety on the Internet by the FBI

10 Tips to Prevent Phishing Attacks by Panda Security

11 Tips on Identifying Spam, Phishing, and Spoofing Emails by Online Convert

Tips on How to Make a Hacker’s Job Harder

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Is your email safe? A recent Yahoo hack indicates that nothing is safe, especially from hackers. Did you know there are things you can do to make a hacker’s job much harder? Check out these five tips from InfoWorld and these seven tips from Above the Law to learn ways you can protect yourself and your firm. Also, heed this advice from Techlicious on what to do if your email gets hacked. PMAP is Practice Management Assistance for Bar members. Email pmap@scbar.org.

PMAP TECH TIP: Mobile Security Hygiene

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Do you connect to unknown wifi or computer networks when you are away from the office or forget to bring your own cable or plugs when you are out of the office for a meeting? Security professionals are encouraging technology users and business owners to pay close attention to good mobile security hygiene as indicated in this post from Air-Watch. This is especially important with employee security hygiene getting worse as ransomware exposes insider negligence, according to Security Magazine. Avoid ransomware infections and other cybersecurity problems by checking out these top 10 cybersecurity tips from SBA and don’t forget to contact pmap@scbar.org if you have any questions.