Fourteen years ago this month, the first hacking scheme to be reported in mainstream newspapers appeared. This was the infamous “I Love You” hack, an email message with the subject line “ILOVEYOU” and the attachment “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs”. In May of 2000, this hack affected tens of millions of computers and caused untold damage.
Since then, hacks such as I Love You, which are called Phishing, are routinely reported. IT departments regularly send out messages warning users not to open suspicious emails or click on attachments if they are unsure. Nevertheless, the number of successful phishing hacks continues to grow.
The Globe and Mail published articles highlighting this problem. In one article, officials at Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) were concerned that the department was subjected to an organized cyber-spying campaign in 2011. The article suggests that the hackers, who are suspected to be the Chinese backed “People’s Liberation Army”, gained access to the IRB’s computers through a phishing email sent to an Immigration adjudicator in Vancouver.
Although it has been said many times, if you are the least bit unsure of the validity of an email, don’t open it, and seek assistance immediately.