March Monthly Gathering Notes: FBI Cybercrime Presentation
The recent Monthly Mensa Gathering was a huge success with a great turnout of both new and long-time members. The meeting covered important topics on cybersecurity presented by two FBI cybercrime agents. In addition to the informative presentation, the group also discussed upcoming events such as Culture Quest and scholarship opportunities. Overall, it was a productive and engaging gathering that provided valuable insights and updates on the latest cybercrime trends and prevention measures. Big thanks to Jean G. for such informative, engaging, and interactive topical speakers!
The agents emphasized that cybercrime is becoming increasingly sophisticated and that individuals and businesses must be vigilant in protecting themselves.
One type of cybercrime that was discussed was phishing, in which criminals send emails or texts that appear to be from legitimate sources in order to trick people into revealing sensitive information or clicking on links that download malware. The agents recommended that people never click on links or download attachments from emails or texts unless they are certain they are legitimate.
Another type of cybercrime that was discussed was ransomware, in which criminals encrypt files on a person's computer and demand payment in exchange for the decryption key. The agents recommended that people regularly back up their files and keep their antivirus and anti-malware software up to date.
The agents also discussed the importance of strong passwords and recommended using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords. They emphasized that people should never reuse passwords across multiple accounts and should enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Passphrases are a great way to create complex passwords that are easier to remember. e.g. thebrowncowjumpedover8moons!
One of the scams discussed by the FBI cybercrime agents was the real estate email forwarding scam. In this scam, hackers gain access to a real estate agent's email and monitor their correspondence with clients. Once a closing date is set, the hackers send an email to the buyer, posing as the agent, and request that the closing funds be wired to a fraudulent account. The email appears legitimate since it is sent from the agent's actual email address, which has been compromised. The unsuspecting buyer wires the funds to the fraudulent account and only realizes they have been scammed when the actual agent contacts them to follow up on the closing. The FBI emphasized the importance of verifying all wire transfer instructions with a phone call to the known, trusted phone number of the sender, in order to avoid falling victim to this type of scam.
The agents encouraged people to report any suspected cyber crimes to law enforcement as soon as possible. They emphasized that the FBI takes cybercrime very seriously and is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who commit these types of crimes.
During the presentation on cybercrime at the Monthly Mensa Gathering, the FBI agents discussed the topic of money mules. They explained how criminals use money mules to transfer stolen funds and how most transactions have to go through a US bank account first. The agents emphasized that if the crime is reported quickly, there is a better chance of solving the crime and recovering the stolen funds. It was a valuable reminder of the importance of reporting any suspicious activity as soon as possible.
Overall, the presentation provided valuable insights into the types of cybercrime that individuals and businesses may face and offered practical tips for protecting against these crimes. It is important that everyone takes steps to safeguard their online activities and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.
The website where you should report cybercrime in the United States is the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) website, which is run by the FBI. The website is www.ic3.gov.
5 Tips to keep yourself safer from Cybercrime:
- Use strong and unique passwords for all of your online accounts.
- Enable two-factor authentication on all accounts that offer it.
- Be cautious of unsolicited emails and text messages, especially those that request personal or financial information.
- Keep your software and operating system up-to-date with the latest security patches.
- Back up important data regularly and keep it in a secure location.