What Law Practices Need to Know to Protect Clients’ PII
While most of us were taking part in our nation’s democratic process, hackers on the Dark Web were playing a role, too, and it had nothing to do with politics.
I wish I could say that it was all about trolling voters with sadistic memes and bombarding them with spam calls, but the reality is much more malicious.
They’re primarily in the business of stealing credentials, performing sophisticated data breaches, and duping you into clicking fake links. That’s their motive, plain and simple; it’s about money, not policy.
Don’t overthink it.
The election season merely meant that they could take advantage of the melee when you dropped your guard.
Here’s are a few of their tactics to scam you.
Phishing – Email spam with a purpose
The most common threats to lawyers are phishing scams.
Honestly, it’s a lazy hack, but it works. The general idea is to get you to click on phony, dangerous email links, then often get you to enter your credentials.
During the election season, (or Thanksgiving, New Years, Back to School, really any time there is a focus on something special) bad actors online will tailor and optimize the emails’ content and subject lines to take advantage of that focus.
What they’re trying to do is strike an emotional chord with you, so you let your guard down.
Phone scams – Old fashioned but still effective
Lately, I’ve seen an uptick in phone scams; recently they were simply election-related.
Think about how scammers adjust their schemes during the busy holiday shopping season online. Black Friday sales on the Dark Web are better than Christmas and their birthday combined for some hackers.
A few months ago, scammers targeted the COVID-19-related ‘opportunities’ such as fake COVID-19/Coronavirus-related domains, COVID-related phishing, and fake Coronavirus tracking maps, just to name a few.
Election season phone scams try to dupe you into clicking links in text messages, asking you to donate to a political candidate or party.
You’ll be donating, alright! But the money won’t go where you think it’s going.
It’s easy for a scammer to use a fake phone number to harvest credit card data or get you to disclose personal information.
Malicious websites – Social media counts, too
During election season, voters engage with each other more, share more articles, and discuss (argue?) controversial topics on social media.
The problem with malicious websites is that they’re cleverly designed and maintained to look legitimate. Gone are the days when it was easy to spot a malicious site or social media post.
Do your best only to visit sites you’ve read before or that have established brands.
If you’ve already landed on the site, pay close attention to post dates, authors (or lack thereof), and what information the site is asking you to relinquish.
The good news is that scammers will change tactics once the election passes; the terrible news is that they’ll go back to tried and true methods that they know work well.