Denial-of-service attacks are often used by cyber criminals as a means of paralyzing computer networks by saturating them with traffic. Now, the FBI warns about a new variant of the scheme that affects cellphones and landlines: the telecommunications denial-of-service attack.
The TDoS attacks use automated dialing programs and multiple accounts to overwhelm victims’ cellphones and landlines with thousands of calls. When victims answer the calls, they either hear nothing, a prerecorded message, advertising or a phone sex menu. Calls are usually short, but so numerous that victims decide to change their phone numbers to terminate the attack, according to the FBI.
The agency reported TDoS attacks have been used as a diversion to prevent financial and brokerage institutions from verifying victim account changes and transactions. Creating a distraction, the perpetrators had enough time to transfer funds from victim brokerage and financial online accounts.
The FBI recommends consumers protect themselves against TDoS attacks by using strong passwords for all financial accounts and monitoring credit reports for fraudulent activity. Victims of TDoS attacks should place fraud alerts with the major credit bureaus, contact their financial institutions and notify their phone provider, as well as report the fraud to FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
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