SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD)– October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the FBI Springfield Field Office wants to remind everyone of the dangers of cybercrimes

A Springfield FBI news release states that cyber investigations encompass internet crime, where people become victims through online fraud and scams, and cyber intrusions, which include ransomware and phishing scams that affect businesses and infrastructure.

“At a time when artificial intelligence is ripe for abuse and criminals attempt to exploit the
technology, the FBI continues to be the lead federal agency responsible for investigating
cyberattacks. And as threats change, the FBI changes with them,” said FBI Springfield Field
Office Special Agent in Charge David Nanz.

He continued, “Cybercrime affects individuals and businesses alike, so by educating the public we hope to prevent victimization, and by partnering with the private sector we hope to strengthen defenses and develop powerful and sophisticated cyber solutions.”

The FBI office has released a list of tips to avoid becoming a victim of a cybercrime:

  • Do not open any email attachment or click a link unless you are expecting the file,
    document, or invoice and have verified the sender’s email address.
  • Be suspicious of requests for secrecy or pressure to take action quickly.
  • Keep systems and software up to date and install a strong, reputable anti-virus program.
  • Create a strong and unique passphrase for each online account and change passphrases
  • Use multi-factor authentication.
  • Examine the email address in all correspondence and scrutinize website URLs before
    responding to a message or visiting a site.
  • Be cautious about the information you share in online profiles and social media accounts.
  • Don’t send payments to unknown people or organizations that are seeking monetary
    support and urge immediate actions.
  • Beware of sudden changes in business practices with vendors or customers.
    o For example: If a current business contact suddenly asks to be contacted via their
    personal email address when all previous official correspondence has been
    through company email, the request could be fraudulent.
  • Businesses should create an incident response plan that includes a relationship with your
    local FBI field office.
  • Take time to read consumer and industry alerts provided by the Internet Crime Complaint

Illinois is ranked 5th in the nation for most internet crime victims and 7th in total victim financial losses. The estimated cost of Illinois cybercrime hovers around $267 million.

Time is crucial when reporting cybercrime. Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim is encouraged to call the FBI Springfield Office at 217-522-9675.