Phishing scams that infect home computers and potentially allow hackers to invade bank and other accounts are preventable, but White Rock IT manager Chris Zota recommends computer users arm themselves with information and awareness. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane).

Refund emails from City of White Rock a ‘phishing’ scam

IT staff work to nullify security breach in ‘classic phishing campaign’

The City of White Rock is warning residents not to open an email sent to home accounts referring to a refund.

The email – purportedly from a city financial services account – is a ‘phishing’ scam, first revealed to the public in a post Wednesday on the city’s Facebook page, and on the city website. The city’s information technology staff were already at work to nullify impact of the false message as of Wednesday morning, the post noted.

‘Phishing’ is typically used to gather personal credentials of email users and can potentially be used by hackers to invade banking and other accounts.

Corporate administration director Tracey Arthur told Peace Arch News the fraudulent emails came to the city’s attention early Wednesday morning but no information on file with the city was compromised.

Responding to questions by email, city IT manager Chris Zota said that approximately 2,700 email messages had been sent out by the time the security breach was detected.

“We temporarily closed the affected user account, changed credentials, set up the user to use multi-factor authentication, investigated the breach (reviewed logs and settings), (and) reminded the user to employ proper cyber hygiene (using different passwords for different accounts),” Zota said.

He said, however, that no purpose would be served by attempting to assign blame for the breach, noting that “clever social engineering methods are employed to craft phishing campaigns designed to steal user credentials,” and that “this was a classic phishing campaign.”

“It’s important not to jump to any conclusions here to the effect that the user did something wrong,” he said. “We don’t know how these credentials were compromised.”

The best policy for the public is to “follow cyber best practices, awareness and education on the topic of cyber security,” Zota said.

“While employing the use of a good anti-malware software helps, I can’t stress enough the importance of education and awareness.”

He said a “simple yet effective overview of phishing” can be found online at phishing.org.

People can use also the site https://haveibeenpwned.com/ to see if their email accounts have been compromised, Zota suggested.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction underway for new Cloverdale elementary school

The $33 million school is to seat 655 students

George Garrett retires from Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society board

Society completes more than 58,000 trips since 2016

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read