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No (Tax) Break from Cyber Crooks

No (Tax) Break from Cyber Crooks - top government contractors - best government contracting event

No (Tax) Break from Cyber Crooks - top government contractors - best government contracting eventDeath and taxes are commonly said to be two facts of life. But as more people file their taxes online, there is a third certainty to consider: cyber crooks.

With tax season in full effect, cyber crooks have crafted legitimate-looking websites and emails with IRS-related content designed to lure hapless consumers into clicking a malicious link or downloading an infected file.

Jeff Horne, director of threat research for Webroot, told The Wall Street Journal scammers have been working on this particular scam for months. An email account he set up to attract and study these types of email has received more than 1 million bogus tax-related messages since November.

Cyber crooks  begin publishing malicious sites as soon as tax season starts, with downloadable IRS forms that automatically “deliver the malware without you even realizing it,” Horne said.

Whether delivered via email or by malicious site, the viruses lurk on the victim’s hard drive looking for keywords related to tax filing, such as Social Security numbers, addresses, employer names and income, and then send the info back to the cyber crooks.

Horne said consumers can protect themselves from similar attacks by running an up-to-date operating system, browser and antivirus. When browsing the web, consumer should use a browser that blocks cross-site scripting. Additionally, consumers should be wary of filing taxes online when using wireless connections, and stay away from unsecured Wi-Fi spots commonly provided by coffee shops and airports.

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