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Cyber Intrusions on a Rise in Oregon, Attackers Bringing in Sophisticated Methods

Cybercrime is reaching new highs in Oregon as attackers slide in more sophisticated approaches.

Cyber intrusions have been on a rise with cybercrime becoming more dangerous and sophisticated than ever. The pervasive and evolving cybercrime poses a serious threat to both the public and private sector networks as attackers target international organizations to steal corporate data and individuals are subjected to identity theft.

In December 2018, Aaron Cole, from the Portland suburb of Oregon City, fell prey to a wire scam and nearly lost his home after being duped into making a fraudulent down payment of $123,000. The attacker sent Cole an email directing him to make the payment and tricked him into believing that it is from the title company he had been working with. At the time, Cole did not realize that a sophisticated network of hackers had been keeping track of his interactions with the title company. Although the email appeared similar in structure to the original emails he received from his title company, it had slight differences.

It was only when the title company reached out Cole on due dates, asking him to send the money, the realization of the blunder hit the Oregon man hard. He suddenly realized that he was duped by cybercriminals to give away all the money which he had saved from the sale of his former house along with other family savings.

Cole's title company, WFG came to his immediate rescue and made up for the losses, in turn, Cole is helping the company in spreading the word about more such scams. He was fortunate to be hired for the same amount he lost to the hackers - to be a spokesperson at the National Title Insurance Company.

“They warned we're never going to send you an email with wire instructions, it'll be an encrypted email. We’ll call you with wire instructions. They're putting all the red flags out there that they can possibly think of,” said Cole. “I was looking at it more like the terms of use when you want to download an app and you just skip through the thing and you click accept.”

While explaining the unfortunate incident and the state of mind which followed, the Oregon Husband and father of two said: "It was the worst feeling."

"And then having to go home and tell my wife that I just gave away all the money. She could tell right when I walked in the house and just sat down, and I just couldn't come up with the words to tell her." He added.

Referencing from the statements given by Gabriel Gundersen, an FBI supervisory special agent with the Oregon Cyber Task Force, "The emails have gotten well-crafted and quite detailed. They're highly tailored to that particular victim."

"It's a social engineering piece, where they're coercing a victim to do something based on an artificial agenda or an artificial timeline." He added.

Earlier the attempts made by attackers to dupe people were uncoordinated and clumsily executed due to which individuals had a scope of making distorted sense of anything which strikes them as strange and makes them feel uncomfortable, however now these cyber traps are set sophisticatedly making it difficult for individuals to locate the red flags.

Security officers are in a constant race with the attackers, ensuring they are not lacking behind with the fixes for every new approach slammed in by con men. However, the overall impact is still staggering as crucial systems are bypassed, disrupting the entire functioning of vital medical and banking networks.
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