FBI Richmond Hosts Cybersecurity Roundtable

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — Cyber ​​fraud is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says is causing headaches for people across the country, especially in the Commonwealth.

Cyber ​​Squad experts from the FBI’s Richmond Field Office hosted a cybersecurity roundtable on Thursday, providing advice on how individuals and businesses could partner with the FBI to recognize and protect against cyber threats.

“We want to identify, disrupt and take down organizations that want to harm our partners,” said cyber squad expert Chris Cope. “It is important that people are very aware of cybersecurity and trust us to be at least that partner and that resource to help them mitigate any type of incidents that they may have.”

The FBI said Internet crime accounted for $6.9 billion in losses nationwide last year. Of these, there were 3,729 ransomware complaints, which accounted for nearly $50 million in losses among victims. The cryptocurrency accounted for $1.6 billion in losses, resulting from 34,202 complaints.

Business email compromise (BEC) scams are among the fastest growing cybercrimes in the country, growing by 60% between 2020 and 2021. Last year, 19,954 complaints were filed for BEC, representing $2.4 billion in losses.

Statewide, Virginians lost hundreds of billions of dollars to cyber fraud in 2021. Ransomware accounted for $543,500 in losses, while BECs accounted for more than $65,400,117. It’s the same crime that cost VCU and other universities and entities in three states a combined total of $5 million.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the university said that in addition to improving its cybersecurity measures to avoid falling victim to BEC scams again, it was also able to recover a large part of the money transferred abroad.

Richmond Field Office Special Agent in Charge Stanley Meador says that while it can be very difficult to recover stolen funds as a result of cyber fraud, the likelihood of recovering that money improves significantly if the incident is reported.

“A lot of times we may have the resources to help you get through that, but we can’t help you if we don’t know about it or if we don’t have that relationship where you can pick up the phone and call us.” said Meador.

“If you deposit it quickly, the FBI, in conjunction with our partners across the country or overseas, may be able to stop this wire transfer and recover the money or a portion of the money,” Meador said. “But we have to act quickly.”

Meador says if you become a victim of cybercrime, your best bet is to file a report via www.IC3.gov, which aggregates cyber fraud reported on the website, then connects those incidents to an asset recovery team. In 2021, out of over 1,700 incidents, the asset recovery team achieved a 75% success rate in freezing stolen funds before they could be lost.

The best way to protect yourself is to be proactive. The FBI encourages people to have an incident response plan for cyberattacks. It is essentially a plan to protect your private information by providing the necessary controls for incident management, reporting, and monitoring to agents should you become the victim of a cyberattack.

How to protect yourself:

  • Be careful about what information you share online or on social media. By openly sharing things like pet names, schools you attended, links to family members, and your birthday, you can give a scammer all the information they need to guess your password. password or answer your security questions.
  • Don’t click anything in an unsolicited email or text asking you to update or verify your account information. Find the company’s phone number yourself (don’t use one provided by a potential scammer) and call the company to ask if the request is legitimate.
  • Carefully review the email address, URL and spelling used in any correspondence. Scammers use slight differences to trick your eye and gain your trust.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know and be wary of attachments forwarded to you.
  • Set up two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication on any account that allows it, and never disable it.
  • Check payment and purchase requests in person if possible or by calling the person to make sure they are legitimate. You must verify any change in account number or payment procedure with the person making the request.
  • Be especially careful if the applicant urges you to act quickly.
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