Security expert Brian Krebs says hackers sent the email to Fazio Mechanical at least two months before thieves began stealing data from cash registers. An employee at the Pennsylvania heating and air conditioning company with access to Target's data opened the email, which then gave the hackers access to Target's network.
Neither Target or Fazio Mechanical have commented on the new information.
The Federal Trade Commission issued advice to the general public on reducing the risk of downloading unwanted malware and spyware.
- Keep your security software updated.
- Don't click on any links or open any attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is.
- Download and install software only from websites you know and trust.
- Make sure your browser security setting is high enough to detect unauthorized downloads.
- Use a pop-up blocker and don't click on any links within pop-ups.
- Resist buying software in response to unexpected pop-up messages or emails, especially ads that claim to have scanned your computer and detected malware. That's a tactic scammers use to spread malware.
- Back up your data regularly.
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