Friday, October 26, 2012

2012: A Year in Review of Cyber Crime

The worst fear of many computer users is waking up one day only to find out they have had their bank
account emptied to the last penny and their identity stolen. The worst part about it is that this is exactly
what happens to thousands of Americans each week and to even more people worldwide.

The unfortunate fact is that 2012 was another year in which millions of people were affected by cyber
crime in some way, be it that they were simply recipients of fraudulent emails, infected by a virus or had financial property stolen from them.

In fact, there have already been two major cyber crimes that have affected hundreds of thousands of
people this year alone.

1. The Reveton Virus: Your Computer as Ransom

It is one thing to have your personal data and financial information held at ransom, but it is a completely
new thing to have your computer locked until you pay up.

That's exactly what the Reveton virus does. It locks renders your computer unable to be used until you
pay the malicious people behind it a certain amount of money.

The Reveton virus installs itself on a user's computer when the user opens an email attachment. Once
the attachment is opened, a bogus screen pops up and says that the user's computer has been disabled.
The only way to reactivate it is to pay a “fine” by using a prepaid card service that hackers use to scam
people out of their money.

There's another reason that this malware weighs in at the most dangerous of 2012, it often leaves other
malicious software on the user's computer, which can then steal the user's confidential information
even after he or she has paid the ransom.

2. Bank Account Fraud by Gameover

The FBI issued a warning in January of this year advising against opening emails from anyone claiming
to be from NACHA, the FDIC or even the Federal Reserve. While this type of scam has been around for
quite a while, that hasn't stopped a large number of computer users from becoming victims.

The email warns that there has been an issue with a recent ACH transaction and directs the user to
open a link to a phony website to resolve it. Once there, the user's computer downloads the Gameover
malware, which is a variant of the Zeus malware that has persisted on the internet for a number of

Once the user's information is stolen by Gameover, the hackers then perform a DDoS (distributed denial
of service) attack on the financial institution's website in what is probably an attempt to distract from
the fraudulent transactions draining compromised bank account holders' accounts.

This is a sponsored post from iPayX, an industry leading online payment service provider.