CHARLOTTE, N.C. Local Charlotte News – As the online holiday shopping season approaches, the FBI is warning about an increase in cyberattacks.
Officials with the FBI say that hackers may target online shoppers with phishing scams as a way to steal financial information. Online retailers themselves may also be at risk.
Norton Security estimates there are 2,200 cyberattacks per day, meaning more than 800,000 people are hacked every year.
FBI officials continue to track thousands of existing and emerging cyber-crimes. The organization has an entire section of its website notifying users of the latest cyberattacks and cybercrimes.
“There is a heavier reliance on technology and the bad guys are realizing the opportunities to profit from that,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Brian Cybrian.
Some of the top IT departments in the country use the information and alerts about cyberattacks from the FBI.
“I have that same information. I share that information internally,” said Nicholas Tella.
Tella is a former investigator with the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit. Now he’s the Director of Information Security for Johnson and Wales University.
“The university environment is the most challenging,” said Tella.
That’s because computer systems, like those at Johnson and Wales, hold student and faculty records as well as banking information for student loans.
Tella estimates the university spends $1-$2 million per year on cybersecurity, but the main focus is training every new employee on how to spot cyber scams.
“You could spend hundreds, some companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on security and all that can happen is you’re a clerk somewhere, you click on a phishing email and it’s over,” said Tella.
That’s when the FBI will step in to track down the scammer, but finding them is always changing as technology, apps, and software continue constant upgrades.
“Each one of those changes causes significant issues not only for the user but also for investigations. It’s a constant need to have that continuous education to learn how those technologies perform,” said Cybrian.
Each cyberattack is handled on a case-by-case basis, but the FBI says the penalties for those accused of a cyberattack have real-world consequences which can sometimes include prison time if convicted.
Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim or targeted by a cyber-attacked is encouraged to report the crime, even if they believe it has small impacts. FBI officials say even the smallest tips can lead to connections to other cybercrimes. Crimes can be reported at: ic3.gov.
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