DoD Warns Troops
DoD Warns Troops, Families
to be Cyber Crime Smart
By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — March 26, 2015 — Defense Department employees and their families
should be vigilant when guarding personal and work information from expanding
cyber-criminal activity, and to know how to recognize scammer tactics, according
to DoD’s chief information officer.
Terry A. Halvorsen issued a DoD-wide memorandum March 18 about the growing
threat of cybercrime “phishing” and “spear phishing” in emails, on social media
sites and through phone calls.
“Phishing” is defined as sending fraudulent emails that claim to be from
reputable sources, such as a recipient’s bank or credit card company, to gain
personal or financial information.
Recipients of such emails are often directed to fraudulent websites that mimic
familiar-looking bank and e-commerce sites, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Phishers ask recipients to “update” or “confirm” accounts, which discloses
confidential information such as Social Security and credit card numbers.
“Spear phishing” is the latest twist on phishing, according to Britannica,
and it targets companies and government agencies through “select employees” with
fraudulent emails, which appear to come from trusted or known sources. When
employees click on links in the emails, hostile programs enter the
Cyber-crime tactics evolving
“Cyber criminals continue using phishing and spear-phishing attacks,”
Halvorsen said in his memo, “and their tactics are evolving in an increasingly
While military members and DoD civilians are routinely trained in recognizing
cyber security red flags, DoD also wants its workforce’s families and parents to
be prepared to deal with suspicious email, he added.
These cyber criminals also track and mine social media accounts such as
Facebook, LinkedIn and others “to interact with people and compromise accounts,”
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
“Phishing continues to be successful because attackers do more research,
evolve their tactics and seek out easy prey,” he said. “We need to arm ourselves
and our families with defensive skills and knowledge to protect [against] being
victimized by a phishing email, computer or phone scam.”
Halvorsen advises these safeguards to protect against phishing and spear
phishing, which can also lead to identity theft:
-- Never trust links or account/password prompts within email messages.
-- Note that phishing emails sometimes have poor grammar or misspelled words.
-- Do not trust information-seeking emails and phone calls, and verify such
-- Never provide your user identification and/or password.
-- Refuse social media connection requests from anyone you haven't personally
-- Use spam filters for personal email.
-- Never email personal or financial information, even if you know the person
-- Be wary of pop-ups; don't click links or enter any data.
-- Don't copy web addresses from a pop-up into a browser.
-- Don't click on links, download files or open attachments.
In his memo, Halvorsen includes a list of resources, listed below, to help
people gain defensive knowledge. The memo is linked below.
Halvorsen’s memo encourages service members and families to share the
resources with friends and communities.
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)
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