Tag Archives: FBI

“Swatting” – Are You A Potential Victim?

imageIn both Canada and the United States, calling 911 (999 in the UK), will put the caller in contact with emergency services including – Police – Fire – Ambulance. In fact, where I live, all these services are dispatched in response to a 911 call.

Luckily, even if the call is interrupted, emergency personnel with access to Automatic Number Identification, coupled with an Automatic Location Identification (ALI) database, can still dispatch emergency response units to the location generated by the system.

In other words, the location from which the emergency call originated is known, and not subject to mistake. Or is it?

Imagine opening your front door – only to be greeted by this.

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Not very likely to happen to you, you’re thinking. Perhaps not – but it does happen to innocent victims and, more to the point, it’s happening with increased frequency. The culprits?  Evil lowlifes who misuse call spoofing technology.

Phone phreaking has a long history – those of us who’ve been around since the 1970s should remember these hackers and their free long-distance calls hacks. Fast forward to today, and what was once a victimless crime (though not entirely so), has taken on ominous overtones.

Call spoofing (showing a phone number in caller ID, other than the real originating number) in it’s most vicious form – “swatting” – can have potentially lethal consequences. The twisted idea behind swatting is – faking an emergency of such a magnitude that the response from law enforcement is the deployment of a  SWAT team to the location generated by the spoofed phone number.

You can well imagine the chaos such an incidence is sure to cause.

From the FBI website:

Needless to say, these calls are dangerous to first responders and to the victims. The callers often tell tales of hostages about to be executed or bombs about to go off. The community is placed in danger as responders rush to the scene, taking them away from real emergencies. And the officers are placed in danger as unsuspecting residents may try to defend themselves.

I must admit; I’ve been completely out of the loop on this one and, until I read the following two newspaper stories this past week, I had no idea of the potential danger.

Toronto man ‘swatted’ by hacker who summoned police

Hacker’s swatting attack calls police to Langley home

Why did they do it?

According to FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kolbye:

Individuals did it for the bragging rights and ego, versus any monetary gain. Basically, they did it because they could.

It’s not my intention, in this article, to describe just how easily a phone number can be spoofed – but, I was hardly surprised to see roughly 2 Million Google search results covering this.

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It’s an unfortunate fact that laws impacting technology issues are seemingly destined to always be in catch up mode. In my view though, this perversion should be addressed with some senses of urgency.

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Filed under Connected Devices, Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, cybercrime, Hackers, Mobile Applications, Software, VOIP

Nigerian Spammers Take On the FBI

image Times must be tough in Spammer Land (Nigeria). Or, it could be, that the poor air and water quality, in this infamous country, is beginning to rot a few brains.

How else to explain, spammers giving a deliberate “poke in the eye” to, of all organizations, the FBI. On the other hand, I suppose it’s possible to be both bold, and dead stupid, at the same time.

In any event, it’s obvious the spammers who are responsible for a ludicrous email currently making the rounds, do not subscribe to the philosophy of “choose your enemies carefully, for they shall kick your ass”. In this case, I suspect, it won’t be very long before that happens.

Most of us learned, in kindergarten, that appearances can often be deceiving. In the unlikely event that you didn’t; checkout, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”, by Robert Fulghum. This book continues to be a phenomenal bestseller; with good reason. The following is a teeny, tiny excerpt:

“And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”

Unfortunately, not all of us, when we are on the Internet, LOOK – really look. Not all of us recognize, “the wolf in sheep’s clothing” email scam. Spam scammers rely on this to defraud those of us who don’t.

According to a recent email I received (a perfect example of the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” scam), the FBI has interceded on my behalf, to allow me to complete an illegal transaction with Mr. Sanusi Lamido, of the Central Bank Of Nigeria.

The FBI (according to the email), kindly points out “During our Investigation, it came to our notice that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation given to you in respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment”.

“So therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry of Finance on your behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating your payment in the total amount of $5,000,000.00 USD which will be deposited into an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw funds anywhere of the world”.

The email goes on to say – “We have confirmed that the amount required to procure the Approval Slip will cost you a total of $196USD which will be paid directly to the ATM CARD CENTER agent via western union money transfer / money gram Money Transfer”.

Not a bad deal huh? $5,000,000.00 USD for an investment of a measly 196 Bucks – and all of it guaranteed by the FBI! Jeez, how could a rational, thoughtful person, pass up an opportunity like this?

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I know that you won’t be deceived by this type of clumsy attempt to defraud, but you would be surprised how often reasonably intelligent people are. Believe it or not, there are some people, somewhere, who will believe this nonsense.

Be kind to your friends, relatives, and associates, particularly those who are new Internet users, and let them know that there is an epidemic of this types of scam on the Internet. In doing so, you help raise the level of protection for all of us.

Ask your friends, relatives, and associates to keep the following tips in mind while on the Internet:

Don’t click links in emails or social networking sites. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them.

Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.

Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.Keep your computer protected.

Install a security solution and keep it up-to-date.

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Windows Tips and Tools

FBI Spam – Spammers Go One Step To Far

image Times must be tough in Spammer Land. Or, it could be, that the poor air and water quality, in this well know country, is beginning to rot a few brains.

How else to explain, spammers giving a deliberate “poke in the eye” to, of all organizations, the FBI. On the other hand, I suppose it’s possible to be both bold, and dead stupid, at the same time.

In any event, it’s obvious the spammers who are responsible for a ludicrous email currently making the rounds, do not subscribe to the philosophy of “choose your enemies carefully, for they shall kick your ass”. In this case, I suspect, it won’t be very long before that happens.

According to this recent email, the FBI has interceded on my behalf to allow me to complete an illegal transaction with Mr. Sanusi Lamido, of the Central Bank Of Nigeria.

The FBI (according to the email), kindly points out “During our Investigation, it came to our notice that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation given to you in respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment.

So therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry of Finance on your behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating your payment in the total amount of $5,000,000.00 USD which will be deposited into an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw funds anywhere of the world”.

The email goes on to say – “We have confirmed that the amount required to procure the Approval Slip will cost you a total of $196USD which will be paid directly to the ATM CARD CENTER agent via western union money transfer / money gram Money Transfer”.

Not a bad deal huh? $5,000,000.00 USD  for an investment of a measly 196 Bucks – and all of it guaranteed by the FBI! Jeez, how could a rational, thoughtful person, pass up an opportunity like this?

FBI Spam

Too Funny! I’m now a little unsure as to what I should do – I’m used to watching YouTube to get my daily chuckles, but maybe I’ll give that up, and just focus on this type of email instead.

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6 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Interconnectivity, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Windows Tips and Tools