Ransomware is on a rampage, seizing control of personal computers and institution-wide networks and encrypting files to make them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to release them.
After seven long years, the tech support scam continues as a reigning rip-off, generating more reports nationwide to the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline (877-908-3360) than any scheme except the IRS impostor ruse. Microsoft estimates that another 3.3 million Americans will fall victim in 2015, losing an estimated $1.5 billion to fraudsters posing as its or other tech company employees.
Catherine Heslep was logging off Gmail when her computer was hijacked, another victim of ransomware. “Your files have been encrypted,” the message on the screen proclaimed. “You will not be able to access them without an encryption code.”
As the year closes, leading online security vendors are looking into their crystal balls - or rather, reviewing recent trends of trickery - to predict the top cyber scams of 2014. Some notables worth a mention:
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