Hidden Hackers

April 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

hackedSince the dawn of time, crooks have calculated on how to take advantage of others by hijacking the ways we live our everyday lives, and since the dawn of technology it’s gotten a whole lot easier for them.

It’s rare for an average 21st century American to go an entire day without checking email or surfing the internet, usually multiple times, and so the technology that has become our greatest convenience has also become our greatest vulnerability. If you’ve ever received a desperate email from a stranger asking for your monetary support to escape a war-torn country, or an unexpected estate settlement from a distant uncle whose attorney only needs your bank account info to wire you the money, you know what I’m talking about.

It’s easy to feel smug if you’ve never been fooled by one of these seemingly obvious scams, but recently these misanthropic masterminds are increasing their camouflage. Here are a couple red flags to keep watch for:

  1. Emails asking for your password  – If you ever receive something via email asking for your password, especially if you didn’t initiate a password reset, delete it immediately. It’s also a good idea to contact the company that the message supposedly came from to let them know, such as your email or credit card provider and also ask what their protocol is for things like password resets so you can make the distinction. 
  2. Fake online leads – If you work in an industry where potential clients or business connections often contact you via email, such as real estate, pay careful attention to unfamiliar email addresses and the way the emails are worded. Even if you think the message is legitimate, never click on any links it contains. Instead, opt for contacting the person via other information they may have provided like a phone number.  

Technology may be all about innovation and new advancements, but some old things never go out of style. In this case, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

 

 

Enter Password Here

April 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

password

So many passwords…what should they be? Should I have CaPitaL letters? Numbers? Symbols? or all of the above?  Oh my!!! It’s enough to make a person scream in frustration!

Passwords are an absolute necessity. Most of the time they are required to make purchases online or access certain websites.  We also want to protect the information we provide online.  Let’s face it, we don’t want just anyone to get our personal information. On the news now, it’s not only security breaches that we hear about, but also how hackers are able to get into and access our personal emails.  It just never seems to end.

We need passwords.  We can’t get away from them.  We just need VERY strong passwords. What can we do to be proactive in this New Year to protect our personal information?

Here is a little secret…the more complex the password the better.  When you use different characters and lengthen your passwords, it becomes harder to figure them out.  Use the following example:

Hard                          H_ard                          H_a_rd                          H_a_r2d                          H_a_r2d!_2

Is this making sense?
How do we remember this?  Great question and thank you for asking!

1. Create your own pattern of letters, symbols, and numbers, etc. and create a rotation system.
2. Keep the list somewhere that is not accessible to anyone else.
3. Then when you update the passwords, update your list.  (Online hidden documents are perfect for this.)

Let’s be password superheroes, and make it harder for malicious cyber criminals to steal our information.

Taking Your Online Security Seriously

October 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The American Bankers Association and the FBI are advising small and midsize businesses that conduct financial transactions over the Internet to dedicate a separate PC used exclusively for online banking.

The reason: Cybergangs have inundated the Internet with “banking Trojans” – malicious programs that enable them to surreptitiously access and manipulate online accounts. A dedicated PC that’s never used for e-mail or Web browsing is much less likely to encounter a banking Trojan.

Internet-enabled ACH and wire transfer fraud have become so acute that the FBI, which is usually reticent to discuss bank losses or even acknowledge ongoing cases, has gone public about the scale of the attacks to bring attention to the problem. The FBI, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve have all issued warnings in the past two months.

The victims are mostly small to midsize organizations using online bank accounts supplied by local community banks and credit unions, FBI analysis shows. “The bad guys are still out there breaking into customers’ computers,” says Steven Chabinsky, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division.

The likelihood of any ordinary person getting his or her PC infected by a banking Trojan is so great that Gartner’s Litan tells acquaintances who run small businesses to switch from commercial online accounts to an individual consumer account.

Tips to be assured of a Website’s Security When Shopping Online

October 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

  1. Know where links you click on are going to take you.
  2. Scan the subheadings of User Agreements for pertinent details about fees, charges, and security.
  3. More advertisements than merchandise could be a red flag.
  4. Protect your information by using PayPal when possible.
  5. Use only trusted sites offering user reviews.
  6. Run virus scans and security software daily – just in case.
  7. Shop right after you run your scans to be sure you aren’t hosting any spyware or viruses which might pick up your information.
  8. Browse before you buy because sometimes when a deal seems too good to be true – it is!
  9. Use your common sense because no one is there to protect you but yourself.