Information Security

Dangerous Pictures — Cyber Criminals Use Photo-Sharing Programs

Inage of a cyber criminal

The Postal Service™ Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) wants employees to know that there is an increase in cyber criminals using online photo-sharing programs to perpetrate scams and harm victims’ computers.

According to information CIRT has received from the FBI, these criminals advertise vehicles online and tell interested customers they will send photos on request. Customers receive these photos either as an email attachment or as a link to an online photo gallery.

The attached photos contain malicious software that infects a victim’s computer. The online links direct victims to fake websites nearly identical to the real sites with the original advertisements. To appear authentic, these sites even include features such as tech support, live chat support, and recommended escrow services. After receiving a payment, the criminal stops responding to the victim’s emails.

CIRT and the FBI urge consumers to be cautious when shopping online. Here are a few tips for staying safe:

n Be careful if you lose an auction, then the seller contacts you and claims the original bidder fell through.

n Make sure websites are secure and authentic before purchasing an item online. Use only well-known escrow services.

n Research car dealerships advertising online to determine how long they’ve been in business and if they are legitimate.

n If the price for an item is well below market value, it’s a likely sign of fraud.

CIRT also advises employees to follow these tips when using their home computers:

n Scan files before downloading them to your computer.

n Keep computer software, including the operating system, updated with the latest patches.

n Ensure anti-virus software and firewalls are current to help prevent malware infections.