Have you been victimized by an internet hacker?

A growing number of individuals and businesses in Jersey are being ripped off in increasingly sophisticated cyber crime schemers, according to Michael Brodack, assistant special agent in charge of the New Jersey FBI’s White Collar and Cyber Crime Division.

Cyber crime can include identity theft, computer intrusion (usually known as ransomware) and internet fraud that involves a business email hoax, he says, “but it doesn’t appear to be a hoax because it looks familiar or similar to an email they would receive from any service that they’ve dealt with in the past, requesting their personal information, for example.”

Brodack said once someone fills in personal information, “that gives the perpetrators access to that personal information that they can use for criminal activity. They can go ahead and use in their social engineering to either access bank accounts, or to use their personal information to get into other areas where they shouldn’t be.”

He explained computer intrusion is where there is an attack that affects the availability or integrity of the company’s information system, where the system is essentially held for ransom.

Brodack said the range of money that’s asked for in ransomeware cases can range from a few thousand dollars to extremely large sums.

He also pointed out business-email compromises are becoming more of a problem, where a perpetrator will find companies that frequently are involved in wire transfers and then “create an email that looks exactly like a CEO’s email and send instructions to the CFO, for example, with a change in wire transfer instructions.”

“It’s those business-email compromises where if they can contact the FBI within three days optimally we can help them try to get that money back.”

If you suspect you’ve been hacked or breached, Brodack said www.ic3.gov "is the best way for a victim to report any type of cybercrime.”

“We’re seeing more and more of this and we’re trying to educate the public so they’re aware of it. The belief is, is that if you haven’t already been a victim, whether you know it or not, there’s a good chance you will become a victim of some sort of cybercrime.”

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