Phishing - don’t get hooked

Phishing - don’t get hooked

Phishing scams attempt to trick people into visiting a fraudulent website to either download malware or reveal sensitive personal information. Tips to safeguard against phishing include adjusting social media privacy settings, updating antivirus software and protecting personal banking and credit card information from unknown recipients. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- At workstations across the base, there are plenty of reminders to maintain operational security, protect personally identifiable information and maintain awareness of malicious software and phishing attempts.

Every day, hackers and scammers use various illegal cyber techniques, such as phishing, to compromise computers or access sensitive personal information.

“Phishing is a type of scam to coerce a person into believing a link is truthful in its contents,” said Danielle Hayes, Detachment 807 Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agent. “The links have malicious codes and viruses. It allows a door into the computer so any entity can exfiltrate what they want.”

According to the Department of Defense, phishing continues to be successful because attackers are always evolving their tactics.

Within the last year, a Schriever Airman received an email from a source he believed he knew. It turned out to be a phishing scam, which led to a virus on his computer.

“Hackers are always coming up with new ways to commit crimes and it is becoming a lot more sophisticated,” said Ryan Cobb, Det 807 AFOSI special agent. “If it just doesn’t have the right feeling and it’s not how you typically do something, then don’t fall for that trap.”

Recently, another scam has surfaced involving a popular movie streaming service which involves tricking users into providing personal information.

The scam directs customers to update their financial account details threatening a suspension in service. The email directs recipients to click a link that redirects to a fake landing page. The page then prompts victims to input their user information and billing details in an effort to gain access to their information.

“In situations like this, I would tell people to go directly to the website and look at your account to see if there is any kind of notification there,” Cobb said. “It is always a good idea to double check as opposed to clicking a link.”

Certain measures Schriever members can take to prevent these type of scams are:

- Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know.

- Update security settings.

- Do not open links or attachments if you suspect it is not from a legitimate source. Links and attachments can contain malware, spyware, viruses and Trojan horses.

- Safeguard personal banking and credit card information from unknown recipients.

- Turn off wirelessly connected devices when not in use.

“We encourage people to come to us first, before taking any other steps,” Hayes said. “If you receive something you are unsure about that has a link or attachment, bring it to our awareness. Our focus is counterintelligence and we are here to offer that help to base members.”

To report any suspicious activity or for anyone being targeted, cease all communication with the individual and contact your command or local AFOSI detachment at 567-5049 or e-mail