GENERICO.ruScienceFraudsters began to impersonate Minister of Science Falkov

Fraudsters began to impersonate Minister of Science Falkov

Hunting for personal data of doctors and candidates of sciences from fake addresses of high scientific authorities

Scammers attack Russian scientists, posing as the leadership of the Central Internal Affairs Directorate, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov and President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Gennady Krasnikov. Attacks are carried out both by phone and via private messages in Telegram.

Hunting for personal data of doctors and candidates of sciences from fake addresses of high scientific authorities

The scheme of work of cybercriminals was revealed by the administrators of the telegram channel of the scientific community “Ivory Zoo”. Information about the first case came from the former head of one of the Siberian institutes. First, a “police captain from the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs” called him and, under the pretext of an allegedly initiated criminal case about a database leak from the relevant ministry, tried to bring the scientist into a conversation in order to clarify his “real” personal data. After the ex-director hung up, not believing the false captain, he received the following message in Telegram, allegedly from Minister Valery Falkov: “I know that you have already been informed that the Ministry has experienced a large-scale leak of personal data of scientists! Your name is also on the list! We instructed the relevant bodies of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to deal with this matter. I also know that you have already been contacted, but you refused to communicate. I'm waiting for an explanation why this happened?”

Soon the administrators of the “Zoo” brought the scammers to clean water, and under the heading of the fake “account of Valery Falkov”, they broke into profanity …

Literally a day later, the exposed criminals changed tactics – they renamed the same account from which they had previously left under the name of Falkov to the account of “RAS President Gennady Krasnikov.” The one who presented himself as the head of the academy also started talking about leaking the database of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education… Moreover, the account that was given out as the account of the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences was marked with a check mark on a blue background – a sign that confirms the real belonging of a public person. As it turned out, such an icon can be easily obtained if you are a Telegram Premium user.

All this is a consequence of the expanded technical capabilities of scammers who decided to breed scientists. Knowing the peculiarities of the human psyche, they probably relied on the fact that for someone their trick might work. They counted, for example, on age-old academics who are not too well versed in the latest news about cyber scammers.

A clear demonstration of what false letters in Telegram “from superiors” can lead to was a recent case in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug, where scammers, having hacked into the account of the director of a fast food chain, allegedly turned on her behalf to subordinates with a request to quickly raise money for a funeral her relatives. The people, who did not expect a dirty trick, took everything at face value and transferred a total of 200 thousand rubles to the fraudsters' bank card.

Crime experts on the Internet also warn that the latest technologies make it possible to “copy” the voice of any person in order to use it later for their own criminal purposes: either to activate credit cards taken in the name of the victim, or for banal compromising evidence. So try not to talk for a long time with suspicious “police captains”.

We must pay tribute to the ministry, which is headed by Valery Falkov. It promptly posted a warning on information security rules in its official Telegram channel “due to the increasing actions of scammers and incoming messages from citizens.”

In general, the time has come when, upon receiving a personal message from the “minister” , “President of the Russian Academy of Sciences” or from the “head of the department of the Ministry of Education” you should not jump to the ceiling, rejoicing that the high authorities condescended to personal appeals. It is better to double-check the information, call the department back. It's probably not worth sending a person who calls himself a minister to the forest either … What if he turns out to be real after all.


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