News Flash

** Hampton Employee Connection

Posted on: March 14, 2022

Be alert for cyberattacks that use current events to gain access

Cyber Security

March 14, 2022 — The Internet Technology team advises employees to be on alert for cyberattacks that may attempt to take advantage of public interest and global concerns related to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. History has shown that cybercriminals monitor current events closely and quickly develop malicious content (including phishing emails, fraudulent social media posts, and lookalike websites) that are designed to distribute malicious software (malware) and trick users into taking dangerous actions.

Currently, the majority of cyber activity has been centered in Ukraine itself. For example, the Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection warned on Twitter of a widespread phishing campaign that was seen just hours into the conflict. Ukrainian government websites and military personnel have been heavily targeted. 

But it is reasonable to expect that those outside of the immediate conflict zone will eventually encounter cyber threats related to this crisis.

How These Attacks Are Likely to Work

Email, social media, the internet, and other digital channels give cybercriminals the ability to quickly distribute attacks at scale or in a targeted, precise manner. It’s likely they could use this crisis to generate malicious communications and websites related to: 

  • Sensationalized stories that seem to come from legitimate news outlets 
  • Inflammatory claims and other forms of misinformation 
  • Fake charities and assistance organizations 

Those who engage with fraudulent content could reveal sensitive personal data (like banking information and login credentials) or expose themselves (and our organization) to malware.

How to Protect Yourself 

It’s critical to recognize that times of crisis tend to spawn cyberattacks. Right now, it is a bit of a waiting game; we anticipate cyber threats related to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, but we aren’t 100% certain of how they will materialize. We ask that you remain alert to any communications you receive about this topic and treat them with caution. This includes emails, text messages, phone calls, and direct messages. 

 Apply what you’ve learned in your security awareness training to ensure you’re making the best choices. Be sure to report ANY suspicious emails using the “Report Phish” button in your email menu bar.

 As the Russia-Ukraine crisis continues or changes over the coming days and weeks, keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Need to verify something? Go direct. Don’t click links or trust contact information provided in an email, text, or voicemail message. If you feel the need to verify a request, use a communication channel you know and trust. 
  • Recognize that you could receive phishing emails in your personal inboxes, too. If an email is unusual or suspicious, delete it without engaging. 
  • Stick to established sources for online news. Misinformation is always an issue during a crisis. But it’s easier than ever for bad actors to create and distribute “fake news” through online ads, social media accounts, and websites that appear to be legitimate or associated with well-known news outlets. 
  • Avoid the “click bait.” People may make outlandish or inflammatory claims through social media outlets or email, and they may include links to supporting content or “proof of legitimacy.” Attackers will create communications designed to elicit strong emotional responses—like curiosity, concern, or fear—in hopes that people will react without thinking. 
  • Only donate through reputable charities. It’s a sad reality, but cybercriminals actively attempt to take advantage of the public’s generosity during times of crisis. If you are thinking about donating, engage directly with a well-established, trustworthy charitable organization. And remember: if an organization requests donations in the form of gift cards or cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin), it likely cannot be trusted.