Kamloops city council impersonated in attempted cyber attacks | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops city council impersonated in attempted cyber attacks

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The City of Kamloops beefed up its security after attackers were impersonating emails from the mayor and council members.

The recent phishing attempts got progressively worse as the impersonating emails sidestepped the City's cyber security, according to a Check Point Software Ltd. news release issued today, Sept. 25.

The impersonation emails can be "financially damaging" and they're difficult to stop, according to Check Point. For the City, they became a daily problem.

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"Profiles and email addresses for the mayor and council members are public information on the city’s website, making it easy for bad actors to target them with social engineering techniques," the Check Point news release reads.

It's not clear when the attempts started but the City had Check Point increase its email security in late 2022, blocking more than 14,000 potential attackers.

"Any one of those emails could have been clicked on and caused ransomware, identify theft or worse," the City's security and infrastructure manager Piotr Baltakis said in the release.

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Baltakis said phishing attempts and potential scams have become more prevalent in the cyber security industry in recent years, and the City is not immune.

He said the City's security system would typically block around 100,000 email scams in a year, but the extra security weeds out thousands more.

For the scammers, their schemes are typically aimed at financial gain. A scammer might try to convince an accounting department to change banking information for a contractor in order to have payments forwarded to their account instead, Baltakis said.

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None of those attempts worked at the City. Baltakis said staff, along with mayor and council, are trained on how to spot email scams, which helps when some get through to inboxes.

"We can be right 99 per cent, but if one email goes through, that's an opportunity for a bad actor to fool somebody," he told iNFOnews.ca.

According to Check Point, governments and schools are among the top targets for cyber attacks.

— This story was updated with more information from Piotr Baltakis at 2:43 p.m., Sept. 25, 2023.

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