US agencies report vishing, extortion, danger of hacking

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 21, 2008

FBI name used in email attacks, CIA warns of power supply hacks.

US security and law enforcement agencies were more than usually active in the computer security world last week, with the FBI alerting on increases in voice phishing attempts and a spam campaign posing as mails from the agency itself, while a CIA representative told conference delegates that hackers were confirmed to have been behind at least one power outage, after breaking into power company systems in an unnamed country.

The first of the FBI warnings, released via the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), alerted on a wide range of spammed lottery scams and extortion schemes using FBI imagery and styling, including banners, logos, and pictures of the FBI director Robert S. Mueller, to add legitimacy to their message.

A second release detailed a marked rise in frequency of vishing (voice-based phishing) attacks, with phone lines used to trick bank customers into revealing their valuable banking details. While some scams operate entirely over the telephone, using voice-over-IP (VoIP) to minimise costs and traceability, others send out traditional phishing email spam or instant messages containing phone numbers to bolster trust in users suspicious of handing over private information via the internet.

A senior CIA analyst told a New Orleans security conference on Friday that hacking was the cause of power outages in several overseas cities, as part of a push to tighten the cyber defences of energy companies. The announcement, which contained no details of the locations or dates of the hacks, came during discussions on the implementation of proposed best practices documents for energy companies. More details are in Information Week here.

Posted on 21 January 2008 by Virus Bulletin

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