Hackers Sending USB Stick With Malware As Gift: How Can You Stay Safe?

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Hackers Sending USB Stick With Malware As Gift: How Can You Stay Safe?

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Hacking and data thefts have been on the rise for decades now. Being vigilant and alert is the best way to stay safe and protected today. But what would you do if you received a friendly-looking USB stick as a gift that’s filled with malware? This is what’s been happening with US-based companies lately, the FBI has warned.

Hackers Sending Malware on USB Sticks

Hackers Sending Malware on USB Sticks

Looking back, sending malware and other viruses on USB sticks and other removable hardware has been a common trick among hackers. However, this method was believed to have diminished over time. The latest warning by the FBI about a hacker group using this method shows it’s still popular, reports The Record.

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The FBI has warned that a hacker group has been sending malware in USB sticks as gifts to companies working in defense, transport, insurance, and other service industries. Hackers hope that employees who receive this USB stick as gifts will use them on their computers, creating a portal for ransomware attacks or other means to steal data.

The group behind the latest malware attack is called FIN7 and even covers up the gift packages smoothly. For instance, a USB stick with malware was uniquely packaged as if it was sent by the US Department of Health and Human Services. It even contained important data and info about COVID19 guidelines. In other cases, it was sent via Amazon.

How To Stay Safe From Fraudsters?

How To Stay Safe From Fraudsters?

The FBI further stated that this racket has been going on for several months, at least from August 2021. The FBI report says the FIN7 group has stolen over USD 1 billion and is connected to ransomware like BlackMatter and DarkSide. This brings us to the important aspect – how to stay safe from such fraudsters?

Readers might think that who would be so ridiculous to stick an anonymous USB stick to their computers. But going by the FBI report, a lot of employees from prestigious companies have done so. In most cases, people are simply curious to see what’s inside the pen drive and if it has any potential to be used as storage.

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Time and again it’s been proven that it’s best to stay cautious. It boils down to a few basic points, which are explained below:

Step 1: Don’t accept gifts from strangers. In the world of malicious acts, ransomware, and data thefts, the best thing for anyone to do is not accept gifts from strangers. In fact, this rule applies to all spheres of our life!

Step 2: Always cross-check to find if the gadget you’ve received is authentic and comes from a known source. You can use your contacts or even dial up the official phone numbers to confirm if such a gift has been sent out for you. It’s always best to stay cautious.

Step 3: And more importantly, if you don’t know where it came from, it’s best to leave it alone and report it to authorities. Accepting unknown gifts could lead you to unknown troubles as well.

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Story first published: Saturday, January 8, 2022, 11:12 [IST]

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