KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: Hackers likely to exploit Ukrainian conflict to unleash malware on Americans

Feb 25, 2022, 6:24 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:55 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — We are bombarded with information about the Russian invasion of Ukraine all day long, and that has experts warning that hackers are likely to target you through your curiosity about this unfolding event.

The images on the news coming out of Ukraine are certainly compelling. But reputable news organizations are, of course, not the only place the war images can be found. Links on social media and email attachments also offer up access to pictures and video from Ukraine.

“We’re seeing a huge uptick in scams,” said Alex Hamerstone, advisory solutions director for the cybersecurity firm, TrustedSec.

Hamerstone warned that simply clicking on a link or opening an email attachment can cause a virus or malware to be downloaded onto your computer, opening access to the bad guys. And they are certainly attuned to what is happening in the news, just like the rest of us.

“If there’s a big story in the news, whether it’s a weather event or some kind of national tragedy, people always will exploit that because they know that if that’s the subject of the email or the scam, that people are going to click on it and be interested and be more likely to fall for it,” Hamerstone said.

Sorting fact, disinformation after Russian attack on Ukraine

Falling for it can be costly. FBI Data shared with the KSL Investigators shows over $47.1 million lost by 4,900 Utahns to cybercriminals in 2020. That works out to be an average of more than $9,500 per crime.

Hamerstone said lately, his team is seeing cybercrooks target reputable websites, such as places people go every day for their news. Scammers are buying ads on these sites and then rigging said-ads with malware, just waiting for folks to click on it.

“If you see somebody advertising on a major website — a website that you trust for your news — oftentimes those ads really have nothing to do with that site,” he explained. “They’re sold through a third-party – ad buying agents that just kind of put your ad out there on lots of different sites.”

The FBI said one of the most common types of malware is ransomware, where the bad guy locks you out of your computer and files unless you pay.

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL Investigates

Leah Moses...

Annie Knox

Utah lawmakers pass ‘Om’s Law,’ focused on child safety in custody decisions

Utah lawmakers gave final passage to bill requiring judges to consider evidence of domestic violence raised in child custody cases.

3 days ago

Matt Gephardt being shown the double payments that Terry Hutchings has been getting....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps homeowner being charged two bills for one security system

Billing for a previous home initially stopped when she sold it, but when she got a new security system from the same provider for her new place a year later it started billing for both.

4 days ago

fences and buildings with an inmate walking on a snowy sidewalk...

Daniella Rivera

New Prison, New Problems: Inside the effort to staff Utah’s new $1 billion prison facility

Utah's new prison cost taxpayers more than a $ 1 billion, yet a scathing audit shows the new facility has been unsafe and still isn't being used as intended. After being granted unprecedented access, the KSL Investigators go inside the new prison for a look at what's being done to fix its new problems.

5 days ago

Neilson-Berg explaining the hassles and trouble she has been going through to get into contact with...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps Google Fiber customer get her internet fixed after customer service calls go nowhere

When a Salt Lake City woman's internet connection went down, and she couldn't get a straight answer as to when it would be back up, she decided to Get Gephardt.

5 days ago

dome and side of the Utah Capitol...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from lawmakers who voted to make their calendars secret

The KSL Investigators put lawmakers’ statements about a measure that would conceal their calendars through the KSL Truth Test.

5 days ago

Sean Reyes...

Keira Fairmont

Fight for Transparency: KSL’s 15-month long battle to get Sean Reyes’ calendar

Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes still refuses to release his professional calendar despite State Records Committee and Judge’s orders. Now Utah Lawmakers have passed a bill to seal all public officials’ calendars.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Gephardt: Hackers likely to exploit Ukrainian conflict to unleash malware on Americans