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The Nigerian fraudsters ripping off the unemployment system

Ars Technica - 2 hours 42 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Daniel Grizelj | Getty Images)

As millions of people around the United States scrambled in recent weeks to collect unemployment benefits and disbursements through the federal CARES Act, officials warned about the looming threat of COVID-19-related scams online. Now they're here.

Last Thursday, the Secret Service issued an alert about a massive operation to file fraudulent unemployment claims in states around the country, like Washington and Massachusetts. Officials attributed the activity to Nigerian scammers and said millions of dollars had already been stolen. New research is now shedding light on one of the actors tied to the scams—and the other pandemic hustles they have going.

The email security firm Agari today will release findings that an actor within the Nigerian cybercriminal group Scattered Canary is filing fraudulent unemployment claims and receiving benefits from multiple states, while also receiving CARES payouts from the Internal Revenue Service. So far, this has netted hundreds of thousands of dollars in scam payments. Regular unemployment, the extra $600 per week that out-of-work Americans can claim during the pandemic, plus the one-time $1,200 payment eligible adults are receiving under the CARES Act are all vulnerable targets for cybercriminals. In the midst of a pandemic and critical economic downturn, though, the theft of those benefits could have particularly dire consequences. The Secret Service warns that hundreds of millions of dollars could be lost to such scams just as states are running out of money to fund unemployment on their own.

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Coronavirus: How Chinese rivals are trying to take Zoom's crown

BBC Technology News - 6 hours 24 min ago
The coronavirus lockdown has fuelled the market for teleconferencing technology apps.

Could coronavirus kickstart more accessible tech?

BBC Technology News - 7 hours 5 min ago
Video calling has risen during the pandemic but for some disabled people it also brought challenges.

Comic for May 24, 2020

Dilbert - 13 hours 37 min ago
Categories: Geek

How Coronavirus lockdown made a 'Zoom boom' generation

BBC Technology News - 14 hours 11 min ago
Digital transformation has advanced two years in just two months, says Microsoft.

Fresh UK review into Huawei role in 5G networks

BBC Technology News - May 24, 2020 - 10:41pm
The National Cyber Security Centre involvement follows new US sanctions on Chinese telecoms giant.

Formula E driver disqualified for gamer swap-in

BBC Technology News - May 24, 2020 - 7:12pm
Formula E driver Daniel Abt is disqualified and ordered to pay £8,900 to charity for getting a professional gamer to compete under his name in an official esports race.

Homecoming S2: The most fun you’ll have with an evil company this spring

Ars Technica - May 24, 2020 - 4:50pm

Enlarge / Name? Date of birth? Home address? "I don't know." (credit: YouTube/Amazon Prime)

Warning: This story references happenings from Homecoming S1 but tries to avoid any major spoilers for FX's Devs and the new second season of Homecoming.

Sometimes Hollywood at large seems to embrace the infamous Google strategy: make two of everything and see what sticks. Who recently asked for twin dog-as-best-friend-but-end-of-life tearjerkers? And did audiences need dual "Nikola Tesla races to make electricity" biopics starring beloved heartthrobs? (In a world where The Prestige already exists, probably not.)

This spring, streaming TV got in on this strategy, too. A pair of shows centered on secretive, shady startups—companies doing almost otherworldly things that piqued government interest but really complicated an employee's life—each arrived with star-boasting casts and filmmaking pedigrees behind the camera. Like a dutiful TV reviewer, I watched the first four episodes of both series. Despite each having oodles of style, one felt opaque and unnecessarily complex, like piecing together a puzzle without knowing what the full picture was at the start.

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Coronavirus: Could these social distancing hacks make it to market?

BBC Technology News - May 24, 2020 - 4:36pm
People around the world are inventing their own gadgets and designs to adhere to social distancing.

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