This GUN Website is a Fraud. How to Determine if a Website is Fake or Real

There are many scammers out there, and one of the things they like to do is to create fake sites that are meant to trick people into giving them personal information, commit identity theft or wire fraud or they’re designed to facilitate a P2P payment like Venmo or PayPal or they’re designed to siphon money via a wire transfer.

One such site is https://empiregunshop.com/ Empire Gun Shop is set up specifically to scam users via a wire transfer. I stumbled upon the site via a Google search looking for a specific part for an old firearm that was provided to me. Google index’s the site, which is scary, and people are being scammed every day. The site has been in operation since March 2020. They also have a Yelp and a Yellow Pages listing which furthers their “legitimate” presence. What also makes this site so effective, beyond the quality web development, is the fact that the URL has HTTPS meaning the “S” designates it is a “secure site” but that doesn’t mean it’s safe.

The site also has a “Live chat” feature that allows visitors to immediately connect with a live operator. And if you do, and feel free to try it, they will respond directly to you. And what is likely to occur is they will set up a wire transfer either via email or via chat. All communications with the scammers are done via a Google voice phone number. I’ve talked to them, engaged in email communications and text. Based on their thick heavy accents and they’re utter brazen attitudes, it’s likely they are from West Africa or Nigeria etc.

Their “Contact us” page provides both a phone number and an email address. And as soon as you contact them they will respond. They will convince you that they have your product in stock, and they will work with you to set up a wire transfer or a peer to peer payment. And once you do, that’s it it’s over Johnny, you lose that money.

When I engaged them to purchase a part, I became immediately suspicious when they were unable to answer a single question that I had asked. Firearms are a certain specialty, and there is a specific language that one needs to speak in order to understand the world of guns. These scammers have no idea what they’re talking about. And if you’re a new gun enthusiast and don’t understand the language of firearms you are likely to get scammed. And that is their edge. Newbies are their mark.

So for laughs, I engaged them via text. I asked if I could buy a “Bazooka” which if you didn’t already know, a Bazooka is a common name for a man-portable recoilless anti-tank rocket launcher weapon, widely deployed by the United States Army. It’s a grenade launcher.

And I told them that my intent was “I am declaring jihad against the infidels.”  Which for any normal company would set off red flags. But not these guys. They’re all about the jihad! And they asked for the FFL which is the Federal Firearms License. And I provided  “Youra Sheethed” Get it? You’re a Shithead. He He.

And I gave them the physical address of the ATF and Boston. And they responded with their PayPal identification number. Feel free to send them some money. Or report them to Paypal. Whatever you wanna do.

Once I started to see this was a scam, I quickly researched the name of the company and found numerous online forums that enforced my belief that it was fraud. Here are those links below:

https://www.bbb.org/us/pa/danville/profile/gun-shop/empire-gun-shop-0241-236059607/complaints

https://www.scam-detector.com/validator/empiregunshop-com-review/

https://www.glocktalk.com/threads/empire-gun-shop-anyone.1883574/

https://www.ar15.com/forums/hometown/Is-Empire-Gun-Shop-in-Danville-legitimate-/14-652483/

https://www.yelp.com/biz/empire-gun-shop-danville

https://www.yellowpages.com/danville-pa/mip/empire-gun-shop-6086596

Here are some of the ways that you can determine if a site is real or fake:

You Aren’t Sure How You Got to the Site

 Have you found yourself on a site and you don’t know how you got there? Did you click on an email link? This is one of the most effective methods that a scammer uses to get a victim to go to a fake site. This is also the case with links on social media sites. Whatever you do, do not click these links. Instead, if you know you want to go to a site, either use a bookmark or type it directly into your browser.

Do You See Spelling or Grammar issues?

 Another sign that a site might be fake is a lot of grammar and/or spelling issues. Many of these fake sites are created by non-native English speakers, and they often make mistakes with spelling and grammar. Some also use translation software, which is notorious for making mistakes like using “there” instead of “their.”

Is the Site Endorsed?

If you see that a site is endorsed, you might believe that it’s totally safe, but just because you see an icon that looks like an endorsement, it doesn’t mean it’s real. A person creating a fake website can add information saying, for instance, that it is endorsed by a news outlet, but that doesn’t mean it actually was. The same can be said for authenticating badges. You should be able to click on these badges and be directed to a site explaining what it means. If you can’t click it, it’s probably a fake.

Look at the Address

Another sign that a site is a scam is if the website address is incorrect. For example, let’s say you want to do some online shopping, and you get an email coupon from Kohl’s. You click on the link, but instead of going to Kohls.com, it takes you to K0hls.com. This is a fake site. You also want to pay attention to the beginning of the address, too. You should only be doing shopping or entering information at a site beginning with HTTPS, not HTTP.

How to Make a Purchase

Almost every website out there takes credit cards. This is a good thing, because a credit card gives you protection. If a site doesn’t take cards, and it only wants a check or wire transfer, you should be suspicious. Empire Gun Shop doesn’t take credit cards.

Are the Prices Too Good to Be True?

Are the prices on a site too good to be true? If the prices are much lower than other prices, this could be a sign of a scam. For example, if you want to buy a new designer purse, and every other site has them for $400, but this one has it for $100, this is a red flag.

Read Reviews

Finally, you can determine if a site is real or not by looking at reviews. You can do this by searching on Google, or you can look at the Better Business Bureau listing. There is also a scam tracker on the BBB website, too. And as I did above, seek out the name of the company and its domain on various forums that specialize in that product or service. Keep in mind, however, that some of these reviews might still be fake, so spend a little time on this and don’t always give these landing pages or splash pages too much credibility.

And hey, feel free to mess with those scumbags at Empire Gun Shop and make their life hell.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

Are Your Devices Spying on You? Here’s How to Stop It

Though you might not realize it, your electronic devices are probably spying on you. These things, like your cell phone, know everything from what you are reading to where you are at any given time. How do they know it? Well, many times, you actually give the device and its apps permission to collect the information. . And while some of the following instructions are somewhat “limited”, setting up privacy requires a little bit of digging. So, dig in ! Here’s how to stop it:

Stop Your Laptop from Spying

Windows

Do you use Windows? If you do, you can limit what you share by going to “Settings” and clicking “Privacy.” Here, you can enable or disable settings for the apps you have on your laptop. You have to do this each time you install a new app.

Macs

Are you using a Mac? If so, you can definitely limit how much information you send to Apple by clicking on the Apple menu, choosing System Preferences, and then Security & Privacy. In the “Privacy” tab, you can see information on what apps can share. When you click “Analytics,” you can see more. Keep in mind that if you install a new app, you need to do this again.

Chromebook

Google is well known for its love of collecting data, so if you have a Chromebook, you should really pay attention. Go to “My Activity,” and then delete anything you want. You can also stop some of the devices data collection by choosing “Manage Your Google Activity,” and then clicking “Go to Activity Controls.”

Phones

As with laptops, you can do the same with a cell phone.

Android

If you own an Android phone, choose “Google,” and then choose “Personal Info & Privacy.” Then choose “Activity Controls.” There, you can choose what to share. As with the laptops, you have to update this each time you install a new app.

iOS

If you own an iPhone, you can find a Privacy setting when you look at the Settings menu. Open this, and then click on “Analytics.” This allows you to see what you are sharing with Apple. You can easily toggle it all off if you like. For every app, you can go back to the “Privacy” settings, and then check these settings for every app you have on your phone.

Fitness Trackers

You might be surprised to know that your fitness tracker could also be spying on you. Apps like FitBit and Strava are controlled through the Privacy and Settings options on your phone, but there is more you can do, too.

FitBit

On the FitBit app, you can tap on your profile, and then the account name. Tap on “Personal Stats,” and then “Settings” and “Privacy.”

Strava

On the Strava app, click on “Menu” or “More,” depending on what type of device you have. Then, choose “Settings” followed by “Privacy Controls.”

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

Your Photos Are Displaying Your GPS Info!

During the holiday season, people are constantly posting family photos online, especially photos that contain kids. Sure, you think your kids are the most adorable out there, but do you really want the entire world to have access to these pictures? Do you want everyone to know where you live? …and did you know this? When you put photos like this online, pedophiles and predators can get your GPS coordinates.

You might want to put up a photo of your kids and dog opening their gifts on Christmas morning or you and your spouse toasting the New Year, but creeps can easily access the exact location each of these photos were taken, and it’s easier to do than you might think.

How is something like this possible? Each time you take a photo with a digital camera or a smart phone, it creates data called EXIF, of “exchangeable image file format.” This data essentially geotags your photo with the GPS coordinates of where you took the image.

If you remove this data, however, the bad guys can’t see where you are located. However, you have to do this for each and every new photo you want to post online.

How to Remove the EXIF Data

Here are the steps that you should take to remove the EXIF data:

 iPhone:

  1. Locate the picture on your iPhone.
  2. Open it, and tap the Share button.
  3. Tap on Options and in the next pane (up top), toggle off Location and/or All Photos Data.

Android:

From Google Play download the free app Photo Metadata Remover

Windows:

  1. First, right click on the image.
  2. Choose “Properties” to see the data, which should include the time and date that the image was taken.
  3. Click “Details.”
  4. Click “Remove Properties and Personal Information.” This is where you delete the EXIF data.
  5. You might be confused because you don’t see longitude and latitude here, but rest assured, it’s there. All you have to do to see it is to download an EXIF reader.
  6. You can make a copy of the image, which will remove data, or you can manually delete the data.

Mac

Download and run ImageOptim software for Mac

Remember, you have to delete this before you post the photo on the internet. You also might want to consider going back and doing this for all of the photos you have posted.

Obviously, doing this before you post a photo is the easiest way to go about protecting your information, and it will make you much more selective on what you put on social media, as you probably don’t want to have to go through these steps each and every time you post.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Turn off the GPS option on your camera
  • Check out the privacy settings on your social media accounts. Who can see it? Can a stranger?
  • Also, remember, that if you post on one network, like Instagram, the photo might also appear on another network, like Facebook, which has different settings.

This is one of those things that people just don’t even realize is happening. Don’t worry but do something about it now. If you have a lot of photos online, you might be panicking. It’s probably okay, but make sure you change your habits going forward. Also, if you know anyone who posts a lot of personal photos online, make sure they know about this, too.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

How to Protect Your Email from Hackers

It is easier than you might think to secure your email from hackers. The number one thing you can do is set up two step verification. Even if your username and password is compromised, bad guys will still need your mobile phone to access your account. And of course, never ever click on any links that come through your email unless you are positive it’s coming from a trusted sender. Not clicking on those links is easier said, than done, and even though is sometimes not enough.

Hackers have a saying – “Own the email, and you’ll own the person.” If you get hacked, the scammers will now have access to many, if not all, of the accounts that are associated with your email address.

How do they get access? Well, they send phishing emails, which look very much like real messages from a source you trust like UPS, PayPal, the IRS, your bank, a friend, your mom, etc.

Even people who seem smart or those who are in leadership positions can get tricked into clicking links in emails. Even John Podesta, who was the campaign chairman when Hillary Clinton, fell for a hack like this. He clicked on a link that seemed like it was from Google, but really it was a hacker…and that hacker got into his entire email account.

Don’t Let a Hacker Get Into Your Email Account

If you see a link and you want to or are supposed to click it, there are a few things you should do:

  • Hover your mouse over the URL to see if it looks strange. If the email says it’s coming from Chase Bank, but the URL looks like a bunch of nonsense, it’s probably not safe to click.
  • Many times, however, the URL can look very legitimate. So, you want to look for some other signs.
  • Look at the email for things like misspellings, grammar mistakes, or other odd things.
  • When in doubt, contact the sender via telephone

Additional Tips

  • If you see some type of urgency in the email, such as your account being compromised or your account being suspended, don’t be so quick to click.
  • There might also be some good, unexpected news in the email that you want to click…but again, be smart and only click if you are absolutely sure.
  • Is the message telling you that you must re-set your password? Be careful here. It’s likely a scam.

Emails from UPS, the IRS, PayPal, a major retailer, or your bank could also be suspicious, so again, don’t click until you are totally sure the link is safe.

Tips for Protecting Your Account

Here are some final tips that you can use to protect your account:

  • Employers need to engage security awareness training in the form of phishing simulation training.
  • Use strong passwords that are long and difficult to guess. They should be mixed with letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Use two-factor authentication for all accounts, including your email account.
  • Don’t click on attachments unless you know exactly what they are.

When you really think about it, protecting your email account is one of the most important things that you can do to keep your information safe. Everything here is simple to do and understand, and it can make a big difference in your life, especially when you consider how easy it is to get hacked.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

Avoiding Online Dating Romance Scams

Not too long ago, I heard from a friend, and he told me his mom was scammed. I was immediately intrigued. He goes on to tell me that since his dad died last year, his mom had signed up for online dating. My friend told his mom that online dating can be dangerous, but she blew it off. Soon, she met a man. He was a Sergeant in the US military and stationed in Afghanistan. They exchanged a lot of messages, and soon became close. One day, she got a message from him saying that he had found a large sum of money and he needed help getting it back to the US…and in only three months, he scammed her out of $242,000. Then…he disappeared.

Online DatingThis is only one of the thousands of stories out there. Scammers know that people looking for love, especially women, can be more vulnerable than others. Another guy I know of was meeting women on social media. He was charming them after sending them messages via their inbox, and ultimately tricking them into giving up their personal info. With this, the guy was able to open new lines of credit in the names of his victims.

Preventing Romance Scams

 Here are some tips to stay safe if you are going to date online:

  • Be suspicious of anyone who tries to impress you with romantic or statements that seem cliché.
  • Once they start talking love and marriage and achy breaky hearts and wanting to be with you and I love you this and I love you that, chances are it’s a scammer.
  • Remember, women can be scammers, too.
  • Be wary if the guy you met online keeps showering you with too many complements. He’s trying to be charming but might not have the best of intentions.
  • If you meet someone on a dating site, and they immediately want to exchange numbers after the first message, be cautious.
  • If someone you are newly dating asks for money, run.
  • If they want to come visit you, but then ask you to pay, it’s probably a scam.
  • Don’t talk about how much money you make or have. If he or she keeps asking, tell them you are on a very tight budget.

Who are these scammers?

Well, they might be part of scamming rings, or they might be working on their own. They are probably from a foreign country, and they almost always portray that they have some type of prestigious or exotic job, and in some way, this job is often connected to the scam. If the person says that they have a normal job, don’t get too comfortable. They still could be a scammer. They then will make up an illness or an injury and tell you that they need money.

Protecting Yourself

 Now that you have read this, you should know how to protect yourself from these types of scams. If you don’t, read this article again. Finally, here is one more trick. Right click on the person’s photo, and then click “Search Google for this Image.” If you see the image on another person’s Facebook profile, or if it’s a stock image, you should run for the hills.

None of this is difficult to understand, and it’s all common sense. But, as stated before, common sense can go right out the window when romance is concerned. So, try to have some smarts as you begin a relationship with anyone. Ask questions, don’t take anything at face value, and most of all, share this post to help other people become aware of these scams.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

Keeping Your SMB Bring-Your-Own-Devices Secure

If you have a small or medium sized business, it is likely that you have staff who are bringing their tablets, phones, iPads, and laptops to work every day. However, all of this puts your business to risk as they can also bring malware into your network.

On top of this, any of these devices can be lost, misplaced, or stolen. Since its extremely likely that your staff are using these devices for their work, think about all of the information that could be on there about your company…and it happens because Joe in accounting left his cell phone on the counter at a local coffee shop, and a hacker picked it up.

Also, think about this: depending on how successful your company is, there also might be a list of clients found on the devices, or at least a few. Now, someone has access to your clients, and what is stopping them from contacting your competitors and sharing your sensitive company information…for a price, of course.

Hacking also often involves the act of phishing where an employee will open up an email and then click on a link or open an attachment. When this happens, malware is unleashed, and the device and network is at risk.

Here are some tips to keep devices secure that you can share with your staff:

  • Only use apps that have been purchased from a reliable source like iTunes or Google Play.
  • Do not reuse passwords and use a different password for each login that you have.
  • Keep all apps and operating systems updated. Any update that comes in should be downloaded and installed immediately. Don’t choose to update later, as this is a great opportunity for hackers to get into a vulnerable app.
  • Start using anti-virus software. These apps can be found in iTunes or in the Google Play store.
  • Be cautious when installing anything with a “free download.” Sometimes viruses and malware can be found there, and they can get out onto your network before you know it.
  • Choose the feature where device passwords are protected and wiped clean after a certain number of log-in attempts.
  • Make sure that all staff understands that free Wi-Fi spots are not secure. So, they should be using a VPN anytime they are trying to connect to a free Wi-Fi network.
  • Phishing scams are becoming more common than ever before, so make sure that your staff knows how to recognize scams like this.
  • Don’t trust email addresses that you don’t know and don’t trust any email that claims it is coming from the CEO or Board of Directors unless it’s an email that you can verify.
  • Do not use any device that is jailbroken. This opens it up to too many viruses.

Understanding MDM

Mobile device management software, or MDM, should be used. This software helps to protect devices, and it is a safety net for any type of business or personal device. For instance, if a mobile device is lost and the person who finds it tries to enter the passcode a certain number of times, the device will lock out the person doing it. You can also set it so that the entire device is erased if there are too many login attempts. MDM also offers firewall protection, encryption, and antivirus capabilities. Additionally, it can monitor the system to add another level of security. There should be a policy in place that every employee must use this software on their device, or they can’t use it.

Utilize Additional Experts

“Do it yourself” information security for small business in theory might seem to save a few bucks. But in the long run it might cost your small business a lot more. Engaging experts such as Managed Security Service Providers, or for smaller businesses, also known as a Virtual CISO’s (chief information security officer), can run the most comprehensive vulnerability scanning software among other ethical hacking tools, will make sure bad guy hackers can’t get in and make a mess of all you have worked for.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

Protecting Your Parents from ID Theft

When we look at statistics,most of the people who are victims of ID theft are 50 years old or older. Unfortunately, cyber criminals have no issue taking advantage of older adults and seniors, including your parents.

old parentsThese crooks violate their trust and take advantage of their ignorance of the online world. People over 50 also tend to have more money and savings including retirement funds.

Here are some scams that are commonly pulled on older adults and seniors…like your parents.

Common Scams Targeting Your Parents

  • They get an email that seems like it is coming from their bank, the FBI, IRS, etc. The email claims that there is an issue that needs to be taken care of ASAP. Typically, it’s financial, so the scammer asks for their bank account information, or it’s for information, and they ask for a Social Security number.
  • They get a call with a sad story…their kid/grandkid needs help, and they need money wired immediately.
  • They might also get a call, email, or letter concerning their mortgage. If a scammer can get access to information like your parents’ bank information, Social Security number, or even the deed to their home, they can refinance your parents’ mortgage and keep the equity they get back.
  • There are also retirement home scams. In these scams, scammers get a job at a retirement home, and then manipulate the residents to tell them personal information.

How to Prevent These Scams

Here are some ways that you can prevent scams like these:

  • Make yourself a guardian over the personal information of your parents. When they get some type of contact that seems suspicious, you should instruct them to get in touch with you. Any information, even your mother’s maiden name, can be used in an identity theft attempt. Tell your parents to never give their personal info to anyone over the phone or via email.
  • Make sure they know to never share any personal information on social media accounts.
  • Tell your parents to check their bank accounts and credit accounts regularly. You should work with them to sign up for alerts for suspicious transactions.
  • Give them a shredder so that they can get rid of things like bank statements safely. Anything with account information, a Social Security number, or other personal info should be shredded.
  • If your parent is using a Wi-Fi hotspot, you should install a VPN for them.
  • If your parent has recently passed away, make sure you don’t put too much unnecessary information in their obituary. These are hot zones for ID theft, so leave out any info an identity thief could use.
  • Show your parents that they should only put information into a website that starts with https://, NOT http://.
  • Also, talk to your parents about emailing safely. Phishing scams are very good, so tell them not to click on any link in an email.
  • Sign your parents up for the website OptOutPrescreen.com. This helps to cut out any unnecessary offers they might receive.

Keep an Eye Out for Scammers

Don’t let your parents become a victim. You can easily prevent it, and more importantly, your parents won’t have to go through the process of rebuilding their credit and recovering their identity. Taking action now is the best way to protect against ID theft. Knowing if your parents are doing something that is risky could definitely be in your favor, as you can help them figure out what is going on and stop it.

Protecting Their Identity

We are all pretty vulnerable when it comes to ID theft, but older people are much more vulnerable. You can’t totally protect yourself and your parents, but you can make it much less likely that something will happen if you take the advice above. It’s always also worth it to invest in ID theft protection for both you and your parents, and you also might even consider a credit freeze.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

Is Your Uber Driver a Criminal?

Do you ever Uber? If you do, you probably feel relatively safe when getting into a stranger’s car. However, you might not be as safe as it seems.

Most people believe that Uber does thorough background checks on its drivers, but that’s not totally the case. Recently, there have been a number of cases where Uber drivers, who have been accused of crimes when on the job, actually have a record and several run-ins with the cops.

Simply doing a quick Google search for “rideshare assault” provides way too many search results of recent stories of sexual assaults and otherwise, perpetrated by drivers. There’s simply no shortage of predators behind the wheel.

In South Carolina a college student got into a car she thought was her Uber, police say. She was found dead in a field. I was asked to discuss this on CNN. When you watch the video on rideshare murder, you will clearly see how upset I was, and frankly, still am.

CNN took a look at Uber, and its competitor, Lyft, and the report found that both of these companies approved the hire of thousands of drivers who have records. Uber did respond to this report, and it says that it knows that there were some hiring mistakes previously, but the company has worked hard to improve the way it hires. In 2017, the company claims, it rejected over 200,000 applicants because of issues found during a background check.

A number of state and local law enforcement organizations have pushed the ride-sharing companies to put more of a focus on who they are hiring. Right now, for example, they don’t fingerprint applicants, nor do they do any type of Federal background checks. Instead, Lyft and Uber both use third-party background check companies. It uses the Social Security number and name of potential drivers to check the national sex offender database, terrorist databases, and local court records. The goal is to get people on the road quickly, so not a ton of time is spent on this.

At this point in time, there are over 40 states that require screening for ridesharing services. But these laws don’t require the companies to screen in a certain way or to use a specific company. Instead, 42 states allow rideshare companies to take this on by themselves. Massachusetts is one state the requires an additional check in addition to the regular background check, and New York City requires that all drivers for ridesharing companies get their fingerprints taken.

It is also important to mention that just because a company does finger printing along with background checks, this isn’t foolproof. The FBI system that is accessed actually has an incomplete record system, and it really isn’t meant to be used like this.

If you use Uber, keep all of this on your mind before you take your next ride. Yes, there is a simple background check that is done, but that doesn’t mean your Uber driver isn’t a criminal.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

The Significant Risks of the Remote Desktop

Are you one of the millions of Americans who are now working from home? Or have you been working from home for awhile? Either way, it is likely that you are using some type of remote desktop protocol. If you are, there are some things that you should be aware of.

None of us believe that we will be hacked, but we have seen over and over again that it is possible. Even the biggest companies out there have been hacked, and a small company is even more at risk of this. Add the use of a program called Remote Desktop offered by Microsoft or Google Chrome or many other third-party remote access programs, and you need to be aware of some things.

Essentially, Remote Desktop allows you to access a computer remotely. It might be in your home or your office, and you can give access to others who are also working remotely in the form of a “remote assistance scam”. However, when you give access, or have this access, your network may be wide open for hackers. There have been thousands and thousands of cases where people have become victims of various remote desktop/remote assistance scams, and if a hack is successful, it can destroy a small business, wreck a persons bank account or lead to identity theft.

What is Remote Desktop?

Remote Desktop is a very common software, and if you work on a computer with Windows, you probably have this program, and you don’t even know it. Though it’s a great tool, it is not as secure as it should be.

Criminals are well-aware of this, of course, and they have worked to create a number of tools for hacking into the software. When they get access to networks, the hackers can also access company info and steal things like login information. Once they have this information, the hackers can buy and sell them so other hackers can use them. Once they are in, they have access to anything and everything on the network.

You are at Risk

It is estimated that there are more than 3 million businesses out there that have access to Remote Desktop. Most of these are small businesses, and many of them manage their own IT services. If you own a small business and you have an IT department, you fall into this category. Additionally, hackers know that these companies are weaker, and they target businesses like this…and any company that has Remote Desktop is also a target.

What You Can Do About It

At this point, you are probably wondering what you can do to protect your company or yourself from hackers who like to use Remote Desktop to access networks. Here are some tips:

  • If you don’t use Remote Desktop, you should remove it from your computer.
  • Make sure that when there is a Windows Update, that you update it as soon as you possibly can. It’s possible that this update could have a security patch that is imperative for keeping hackers out.
  • Ensure that your wireless connections are encrypted, and also password protected.
  • If you want to keep Remote Desktop, you can, but choose to only use it on a computer that is running on a VPN, or virtual private network.
  • Use a firewall, too, so you can restrict access.
  • Another thing you can do is set up two-factor authentication.
  • Beware of any pop ups or phone calls that lead to someone requesting remote access to our device.
  • Understand that none of this is fool proof. The only way to totally protect yourself from hacks via Remote Desktop is to totally delete the program.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.

Cryptocurrency Fraud and Malware Scamming Investors

Cryptocurrency is hot right now, and whenever something is hot, hackers pay attention. Research has recently showing that more than 10 percent of all the funds that were raised through the ICOs, initial coin offerings, simply disappeared.

CryptocurrencyIt is popular for ICO’s to be used as an early-stage investment form. So, instead of buying shares, investors buy digital tokens. However, the companies that sell these ICOs don’t have any product to give investors except a whitepaper. This whitepaper tells them how things could theoretically work, the investment scheme, but it seems, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Sometimes the Money Just Disappears

Ernest & Young took a look at over 370 ICOs. The firm found that out of the $3.7 billion raised through these offerings, about $400 million vanished. Where did it go? Research shows it went to hackers using phishing attacks.

It’s not clear if the researchers looked at companies that didn’t deliver or disappeared. For instance, one company, Tezos, pulled in about $232 million during an ICO. However, investors got nothing. That looks like fraud.

How Malware is Responsible for Missing Money

At this point, you might be wondering how these scams are happening. One way is criminal hackers using malware. Specifically, it’s Satori. Satori, which is the actual malware responsible for this, is definitely wreaking havoc with investors who are looking for a huge return. Netlab 360, a Chinese-based company, released a report recently pointing the finger at Satori, which is affecting the Claymore Miner software.

By using mining software, investors are able to obtain the cryptocurrency. However, the malware is making this impossible getting in the middle of the transaction. After the malware gets control of the software, it replaces the address of the wallet with one that is controlled by the hacker.

So, the user believes that this currency is coming into their wallet, but in reality, they are doing the work and someone else, the hacker, is getting the currency. What’s even worse is that the owners of the wallets don’t even realize this is happening unless they look at their software configuration.

In total, researchers have determined just over one Etherium coin has been hacked, so it’s not extremely profitable at this point, yet. However, there is great potential, and when it comes to cybercriminals, they will certainly find a way.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.