Ransomware is scary, but another scam is costing victims much, much more, says FBI

Ransomware is scary, but another scam is costing victims much, much more, says FBI

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Business email compromise (BEC) remains the biggest root of fiscal losses, which totaled $2.4 cardinal successful 2021, up from an estimated $1.8 cardinal successful 2020, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Internet Crime Center (IC3). 

The FBI says successful its 2021 yearly study that Americans past twelvemonth mislaid $6.9 cardinal to scammers and cyber criminals done ransomware, BEC, and cryptocurrency theft related to fiscal and romance scams. In 2020, that fig stood at $4.2 billion

Last year, FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 847,376 complaints astir cybercrime losses, up 7% from 791,790 complaints successful 2020. 

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BEC has been the largest root of fraud for respective years contempt ransomware attacks grabbing astir headlines. 

"In 2021, BEC schemes resulted successful 19,954 complaints with an adjusted nonaccomplishment of astir $2.4 billion," said Paul Abbate, lawman manager of the FBI, successful an instauration to the report.

"In 2021, heightened attraction was brought to the urgent request for much cyber incidental reporting to the national government."

IC3's statistic successful its yearly reports are based connected accusation the nationalist submits to its website www.ic3.gov. Since 2017, the IC3 has received 2.76 cardinal complaints that bespeak US consumers and businesses person mislaid $18.7 billion. 

BEC scams person evolved with technology, specified arsenic AI-created audio and video heavy fakes, arsenic the pandemic forced businesses to determination to online video meetings via Zoom oregon Microsoft Teams. 

Originally, BEC scams relied connected spoofing oregon hacking a concern email relationship of a elder serviceman and past instructing a subordinate to ligament funds to the scammer's slope account. The emails often targeted existent property companies. 

"Now, fraudsters are utilizing virtual gathering platforms to hack emails and spoof concern leaders' credentials to initiate the fraudulent ligament transfers. These fraudulent ligament transfers are often instantly transferred to cryptocurrency wallets and rapidly dispersed, making betterment efforts much difficult," the FBI noted. 

In those meetings, the fraudster would insert a inactive representation of the CEO with nary audio, oregon a 'deep fake' audio, though which fraudsters, acting arsenic concern executives, would past assertion their audio/video was not moving properly. The fraudster past uses video to instruct employees to implicit a ligament transportation oregon usage an executive's compromised email to present wiring instructions.

Cryptocurrency laundering was a immense concern past year. Blockchain investigation steadfast Chainalysis reported that cyber criminals washed about $8.6 cardinal worthy of cryptocurrency successful 2021. North Korean hackers stole astir $400 cardinal successful cryptocurrency past year, and utilized cryptocurrency mixer oregon 'tumbler' bundle that splits funds into tiny sums and blends it with different transactions earlier sending the amounts to a caller address. 

IC3 received 3,729 complaints astir ransomware attacks that amounted to adjusted losses of much than $49.2 million. The FBI noted that ransomware groups usage phishing emails, stolen distant desktop protocol (RDP) credentials, and bundle flaws to infect victims with ransomware. 

In February, IC3 reported an uptick successful "high-impact" ransomware attacks during 2021 based connected information from the FBI, National Security Agency, and cybersecurity agencies from the UK and Australia. The different large trends are ransomware-as-a-service, wherever the attackers supply ransom dialog services, and the rise of entree brokers, who proviso compromised accounts to ransomware gangs.  

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The notorious Conti ransomware gang got a peculiar notation successful IC3's report. IC3 lone started tracking ransomware targeting US captious infrastructure operators successful June, covering attacks connected US operators of h2o and discarded h2o systems, nutrient and agriculture, healthcare and exigency aesculapian services, instrumentality enforcement, 911 dispatch centers, and firms successful chemical, energy, concern and tech sectors.       

The IC3 received 51 reports about REvil ransomware attacks, 58 reports about Lockbit 2.0, and 87 reports astir Conti attacks.     

"Of each captious infrastructure sectors reportedly victims by ransomware successful 2021, the healthcare and nationalist health, fiscal services, and accusation exertion sectors were the astir predominant victims," IC3 said, suggesting it anticipates an summation successful captious infrastructure victimization successful 2022, but that it doesn't promote paying a ransom to criminals. 

The US is reorganizing however captious infrastructure operators study important hacks. Newly passed authorities requires operators to study these hacks and ransom payments to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) versus the FBI. CISA has committed to instantly stock reports it receives with the FBI.

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