If you follow us here at Komando.com, then you're no stranger to ransomware. We talk about it a lot because it's a growing problem. In fact, ransomware surged 159 percent from March to April, which should tell you just how quickly it's catching on. (Click here to read more about the shocking numbers on ransomware found by a recent study.)
But ransomware isn't the only way cybercriminals are trying to steal your money. The FBI has just issued an alert about a new form of extortion that is arising as a result of massive data breaches.
This scam feels a lot like the plot of your average thriller movie, where a criminal finds some dirt on an unsuspecting victim and asks for a payoff to keep quiet. Cybercriminals have discovered that the data obtained through breaches is quite valuable in this aspect.
According to the FBI's alert, "Recipients are told that personal information, such as their name, phone number, address, credit card information, and other personal details, will be released to the recipients' social media contacts, family, and friends if a ransom is not paid."
You might think that this could never happen to you. Many people think that, but they're wrong. Just look back at all of the data breaches that happened last year alone, and it becomes frightening how much data has been compromised. Here's a list of just a handful of breaches we've told you about recently:
- Wendy's fast food restaurants
- Trump Hotels
- Hyatt Hotels
- Hilton Hotels
- Starwood Hotels (Which owns, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, W Hotels and other chains)
- Lifeboat Minecraft community
- American Express
- Kroger (Which owns many popular supermarkets, like Fry's and Ralph's.)
- Scottrade and JP Morgan Chase
And the list goes on...
As you can see, the chances of your information being compromised by a data breach are on the rise. In its alert, the FBI explained that the payments requested by these scammers is anywhere from 2 to 5 bitcoins, which is the equivalent of $250 to $1,200. That's a lot!
This is why we warn you so regularly about these threats. It's easy to forget they're out there, and to let your guard down. But there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself. Press play to listen to our podcast on how cybercrime can ruin you forever.