Cyber Security Tip #21: Surf Safe on the Internet It’s important to verify the sites you visit on the Internet. A certain amount of information (such as your IP address and domain name) is automatically sent when you connect. Web sites can also track the pages you visit, determine the version of your browser and operating system, and even compromise files and passwords. Below are a few helpful tips on how to keep safe on the Internet: • Keep your operating system updated and patched. • Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep them updated. • Do not visit un-trusted websites or follow links provided by unknown or un-trusted sources. • Keep your applications (programs) updated and patched, particularly if they work with your browser such as multi-media programs used for viewing videos. • Block pop-up windows, some of which may be malicious and hide attacks. This may block malicious software from being downloaded to your computer. #NCSAM
Stranger Danger Parents are constantly reminded about teaching their kids to protect themselves against online strangers, but these individuals can pose just as great a threat to adults. When interacting with people online in any environment, you should exercise extreme caution. Especially if someone begins asking for personal information or attempts a sales pitch. Online harassment and abuse can also be a serious problem for both kids and adults. If someone you talk to online is becomes abusive or harasses you, immediately drop contact before things escalate. Be careful whom you befriend online — not everyone is friendly or forthcoming on the Internet. #NCSAM
Using Gift Cards this Holiday Season With so many breaches occurring at retail stores nation wide, it is no wonder shoppers are iffy on using their credit and debit cards this Holiday season. To avoid being a victim of a breach, cyber security experts recommend you going to your financial institute and obtain a registered gift card to do your online shopping. It won’t be tied to any of your bank accounts and may even help with your Holiday budgeting. #NCSAM
Be Cautious of Work At Home Scams Working from home, earn $500 a week commission. It sounds to good to be true, and it is. Scammers pass stolen cash to unsuspecting people, who transfer it back to the thieves via electronic payment. Your job with the work taken out is money laundering. Beware. If you ever unsure on if a work at home site is legit or any other online internet service offered be sure to act on your doubts. If you think an online shop or service is dodgy, do some checking. A WHOIS search may let you see the registration details of a site. Visit the website www.whois.net and check out your suspect site. Companies House also enables you to check out details about company addresses, owners and the like. Look for big discrepancies between onscreen addresses and physical offices. #NCSAM
Be Aware of What Information You Put in Autoresponders Do you use autoresponder on your email accounts? While autoresponder is an awesome tool to let people know that you are away, hackers and crooks also see this as an awesome tool to determine the best time hack into your computer system or rob your home. As long as the autoresponder is enabled, it will automatically respond to anyone who emails you. Consider the verbiage you use. Do not give out specific details about your location or itinerary and consider using a phrase like, “I will not have access to email between (date) and (date).”
Beware of Rogue Anti-Virus Software Rogue software or “scareware” is fake antivirus or security software. Bad guys usually try to get you to install it by generating a pop-up window as you surf the web. The “updates” or “alerts” in the pop-up windows call for you to take some sort of action, such as clicking to install the software, accept recommended updates, or remove unwanted viruses or spyware. When you click, the rogue security software downloads to your computer. Here’s some ways to apply computer security best practices that will help protect your machine and minimize any potential impacts: 1. Don’t click on pop-up ads that advertise anti-virus or anti-spyware programs 2. Don’t download software from unknown sources. 3. Use and regularly update firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-spyware programs. 4. Patch operating systems, browsers, and other software programs. 5. Regularly scan and clean your computer. 6. Back up your critical files. Take Microsoft’s Real vs. Rogue quiz:https://www.facebook.com/msftmmpc/app_236330836495399 to help you tell if a security warning is from your real antivirus software or from rogue security.
With the Holidays just around the corner, folks may be considering upgrading their old desktop or laptop to a newer model. So what do people do with their old computers? It is important to remember to erase all personal information from old computers before disposing or selling them. Simply reformatting a hard drive or reinstalling the operating system does not guarantee that your personal information is actually gone from the computer. Here are some tips on how to safely dispose of them: You could physically destroy the hard drive For those who want to sell their old system or give it a family member, destroying the hard drive may not be a plausible option. In this case using a special “wipe” program will erase all your personal information. Programs such as Active@ KillDisk and Softpedia DP Wiper, are free and meet government security standards. Both Apple and Microsoft have refurbish programs that will safely dispose of old electronics and securely wipe the data for you.
Cyber Security Tip #13: How to spot a phishing email: It could be a phishing email if… There are misspelled words in the e-mail or it contains poor grammar. The message is asking for personally identifiable information, such as credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords, PINs or Social Security Numbers. There are “threats” or alarming statements that create a sense of urgency. For example: “Your account will be locked until we hear from you” or “We have noticed activity on your account from a foreign IP address.” The domain name in the message isn’t the one you’re used to seeing. It’s usually close to the real domain name but not exact. For example: Phishing website: www.regionsbanking.com Real website: www.regions.com #NCSAM
Some Tips to Protect against Identity Theft Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead put “Photo ID Required” When you order your checks, don’t list any telephone number. You can always write it on the check at the time of the transaction. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address or your work address. Be aware of which credit cards you carry! Many now have embedded RFID chips in which the information on one of those chips can be read surreptitiously by someone near you using a simple hand-held scanner. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Store those photo copies in a secure place and refresh it when you change cards #NCSAM