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With the emergence of a new tax fraud scheme, The Internal Revenue Service is urging tax professionals to step up security and beware of phishing emails that can secretly download malicious software that can help cybercriminals steal client data.
Only a few days into the filing season, a scam was identified that began with cybercriminals stealing data from several tax practitioners’ computers and filing fraudulent tax returns.
Tax refund fraud affects hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of U.S. citizens annually. Victims usually first learn of the crime after having their returns rejected because scammers beat them to it.
Cybercrime is expected to cost Californians big-time in 2018. Using publicly available data from the FBI and the Insurance Information Institute, researchers at Website Builder Expert have predicted individuals in the Golden State will lose $329 million over the course of this year.
Second place, New York, is expected to lose $139.4 million. Third place, Florida, is expected to lose $111.7 million to cybercriminals this year. These figures put California far ahead of all other states for cybercrime losses.
The Sacramento Bee deleted two databases hosted by a third party after a ransomware attack exposed the voter records of 19.5 million California voters and contact information for 53,000 current and former subscribers to the newspaper.
The paper refused to pay the hackers’ demand for a bitcoin ransom and is notifying subscribers whose information was affected, according to its publisher Gary Wortel, who also serves as west regional publisher at parent company McClatchy.
The Sacramento Bee said in a statement that a firewall protecting its database was not restored during routine maintenance last month, leaving the 19,501,258 voter files publicly accessible for two weeks. Additionally, the names, home addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of 52,873 Sacramento Bee subscribers, who activated their digital accounts prior to 2017, were compromised.
Businesses reported all-time high levels of fraud, cyber and security incidents during 2017, according to senior corporate executives surveyed worldwide for the 2017/18 Kroll Annual Global Fraud & Risk Report.
About 84% of companies surveyed worldwide experienced a fraud incident in 2017, according to the report.
The proportion of executives reporting that their companies fell victim to at least one instance of fraud over the past 12 months increased to 84%, from 82% in the previous year. Levels of reported fraud have steadily risen every year since 2012, when the reported occurrence was just 61%.
Indiana hospital system, Hancock Health, said it paid hackers 4 bitcoin, or about $47,000, to unlock it’s network after a ransomware attack on January 11, 2018.
Hackers compromised a third-party vendor’s administrative account to the hospital’s remote-access portal and launched SamSam ransomware, a ransomware variant which encrypts data files on the systems and uses a private key to unlock them. It quickly infected the hospital’s IT system by locking out data and changing the names of more than 1,400 files to “I’m sorry.”
OnePlus, the smartphone manufacturer behind a popular line of Android phones, has reported a credit card breach affecting up to 40,000 users at oneplus.net. Customers who entered their credit card data on the website between mid-November 2017 and January 11, 2018 could be at risk.
The announcement of the data breach followed numerous reports from customers over the weekend of January 13, 2018 related to fraudulent charges appearing on their accounts. The company immediately launched an investigation and learned one of its systems was attacked. A malicious script was injected into the payment page code to steal credit card information as it was being entered.