(WSYR-TV) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning over the record increase in cyber attacks, according to its 2021 Internet Crime Report.
Samantha Baltzersen is an FBI Supervisory Special Agent in charge of a cyber squad in Albany. The FBI cyber squads are helping victims of attacks and holding the attackers accountable. Cyber attacks can compromise businesses and you at home.
In 2021, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received a record number of cyber attacks. More than 847,000 people reported complaints, with potential monetary loses exceeding $6.9 billion.
That’s only the data we see, and based on our experience and with the victims who haven’t reported on IC3 but who call directly into our office and whom we help, the numbers are much, much larger. We estimate that we see maybe 1/3 of the actual ransomware attacks because those victims don’t want to report it for various reasons.SAMANTHA BALTZERSEN, SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT, FBI CYBER SQUAD
Baltzersen believes the COVID-19 pandemic has influence on the increase in cyber attacks. She notes the large expansion of infrastructure and increase in online activity.
“A lot of people moved assets to the cloud. A lot of businesses had to co-mingle their internet environments,” Baltzersen explained. “A lot of people had to work remotely and from home and any time there is remote access, that’s an additional vulnerability that requires additional safety precautions to be put into place.”
The 2021 complaints IC3 received included ransomware, business e-mail compromise (BEC) schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency.
TOP 5 FBI CYBER SAFETY TIPS
- Keep systems and software up to date and install a strong, reputable anti-virus program.
- Create a strong and unique passphrase for each online account you hold and change them regularly. Adding multi-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security.
- Do not open any attachments unless you are expecting the file, document, or invoice and have verified the sender’s email address.
- Be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network and do not conduct any sensitive transactions, including purchases, when on a public network. If you need to connect to public Wi-Fi, download a VPN (Virtual Private Network) app for additional safety. Many common security products offer a VPN option.
- Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices that access these ports. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.
The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center is actively working to combat cyber crime.
If you believe you’re the victim of an internet crime, you can call the FBI’s main office at 1-800-CALL-FBI to file a complaint. You can also click here for a direct link.
Interested in reading the 2021 FBI Internet Crime Report in full? See below.
Read more about cyber crime by clicking here.