FluBot and other scams to watch out for

9 months ago

Cyber scams are just as prevalent as always, but they also continue to mature in sophistication. This threat is heightened by the current lockdown situation which has seen phishing attacks rise by 1000%. This week we’ll look at the FluBot scam that is sweeping through mobile phones. We’ll also discuss the rise of data breaches in the wake of Covid.

FluBot Scam

Starting in mid-August, Australians began receiving an influx of strange text messages to their phones. The text messages purported to be an automated text advising you that you had a new or unread voicemail. The text was accompanied by a link that, if clicked, would download malicious software onto your phone. This software may have immediate access to your banking and other major accounts that are kept on your phone. In other cases, the link will prompt you to download an app in order to access the fake voicemail. Then it installs malicious software onto your phone.

These messages come from legitimate devices and numbers all around the world. Because of this, it is not easy for you or your telco provider to simply block these numbers. Even if you are on the Do Not Call register, this FluBot scam seemingly bypasses this. Especially as every text comes from a new and legitimate number.

As news and government sources were desperate to get the message out about the scam and quickly educate people, the scam reinvented itself. The FluBot now purports to be DHL or another delivery service that is allowing you to track an incoming parcel. This new wave of texts includes better spelling and more legitimate looking links. This can be quite convincing as in lockdown many people are turning to online shopping.

What do I do if I receive a Flubot text?

You should treat unsolicited texts just like potentially dodgy emails.

  • Never click the link on a text as it could download malicious hacking software to your phone.
  • If you are unsure whether the text is real, call the official number of who the text purports to be. This could be DHL, your telco provider etc. but it is best to check whether the text is legitimate.
  • If you have already clicked the link, immediately contact an IT professional or your telco provider. This is to assure that your private information hasn’t been compromised.

Reported rise in data breaches

In the last year, The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) received in total 985 reports of data breaches. A report found that health services are most likely to be the target of data breaches. Other affected sectors include finance, legal, accounting, management services and insurance.

There is concern among the OAIC that due to the nature of data breaches, some entities are not reporting all eligible data breaches involving ransomware. This is believed to be the reason why only 40% of victims have been contacted in relation to the Service NSW data breach from last year. An expose from InnovationAus revealed that Service NSW had only managed to contact 63,500 of the 103,000 total victims of the data breach. Damon Rees, the head of Service NSW, explained that due to the nature of the breach it was difficult to find all of the victims.

Notifiable data breach scheme

There has been significantly more transparency in relation to data breaches, particularly since the Notifiable Data Breach scheme came into effect back in 2018. Headed by the OAIC, businesses and organisations are responsible for reporting data breaches to the commission. Particularly when a breach is likely to result in serious harm to an individual whose personal information has been compromised.

In its most recent report, the OAIC found that human error still remained one of the biggest causes of data breaches and that internal processes and training were some of the key ways to reduce the risk of data breaches. Some suggestions from the OAIC include:

  • Have appropriate auditing or monitoring of your security and systems such as the monitoring provided by Milnsbridge Managed IT and our Secure Operating Environment (SOE) protocols.
  • Use an appropriate and secure backup system that is routinely tested.
  • Have a concise incident response plan in the event of a data breach, and;
  • Regularly train your team on cybersecurity measures.

Ways to spot a phishing email or Flubot Text

  • The email/text makes unrealistic threats or demands. This is a common tactic where the scam will threaten to close an account. It may also require urgent action which gives the end user a sense of urgency and may be more likely to make rash decisions.
  • The email/text is purporting to be representing a reputable company such as Telstra or DHL. The easiest way to trick someone with a phishing email or text is to pretend to be a reputable company that you would otherwise trust. It is always best to call them directly and ask.
  • There is a specific demand such as for a payment, for you to click a link or to download an app. The email or text will demand that you pay them money for a service they will never provide. They can also attempt to coerce or trick you into clicking a link or to download an app.
  • Poor spelling and punctuation. The FluBot text scams were riddled with awful spelling e.g., ‘Nfw voice yessage received’ or ‘Voicemail message receiied’. A legitimate email will usually be proofread and not contain a tonne of spelling mistakes and errors.
  • A mismatched or dodgy URL. A phishing email or text may include a malicious link. Malicious links can be spotted as the text in the link is random and seemingly has no correlation to who the email purports to be. In this case, the link should not be clicked on unless you can verify its legitimacy.
  • The email/text asks for personal information. Above all else, a reputable organisation will never ask for your personal information especially via text or email. Again, it is best to check with who the email purports to be to confirm its legitimacy.

Contact Milnsbridge Today!

You can read more about phishing emails and how to spot them here. If you are interested in discussing the ways that Managed IT Services and Managed Security can protect your business from threats, call us today on 1300 300 293 to talk with one of our friendly engineers.

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