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Cybersecurity and Phishing

The recent (and successful) phishing attack on “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran illustrates that no one, no matter your status is immune to a cyber attack.

In case you missed it, Corcoran lost approximately $400,000.00 USD to a phishing attack originating in China. According to reports, her bookkeeper received an email from the star’s executive assistant requesting a money transfer to cover real estate dealings in Europe. The email seemed legitimate so the transfer of funds by the bookkeeper was made. Unfortunately the bookkeeper didn’t notice that there had been a simple and subtle change in the email address…simply removing one letter from the real address had the phishers appear to be genuine.

This isn’t the first time a scam like this has worked and in all likelihood it probably won’t be the last. But it does serve to alert everyone, especially those who deal with sensitive information, to be extremely cautious when a request is made for the transfer of money or other sensitive information. It only takes a moment to check the validity of the email for accuracy and safety…or a second to miss the deception and reward those with malicious intent.

About the Author: Dr. Jane LeClair is the President and COO of the Washington Center for Cybersecurity Research & Development.

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