Using the Internet daily is something many of us do, and unfortunately, we can often fall victim to cybercrime. Knowing what cybersecurity measures to take, how to recognize scams, and being careful of where you click, can help you become more knowledgeable when it comes to protecting yourself online against attackers. Something as simple as clicking on an unfamiliar link or opening an attachment can be the reason for major data loss.
Important measures to take:
- Be careful where you click.
The number one way to increase your cybersecurity is to be mindful of where you click. Avoid visiting websites that you aren’t sure of, and refrain from downloading software from suspicious sources. Often, these things contain malware that will immediately compromise your information without you knowing.
- Keep your software and computer up-to-date.
Installing software and program updates can help keep your information secure. Always install the latest security updates and regularly keep plug-ins, or pieces of software designed to improve the functionality of your browser, current.
- Use good password management.
The stronger your password is, the harder it is for an attacker to guess it. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, and avoid using passwords that are easy to predict. Updating your password periodically and refraining from sharing your passwords with others can help keep them safe.
To learn more about strong passwords, read Let’s Take a Look at Passwords.
Information on email scams
Email scams are common tactics an attacker will use when targeting victims. In an effort to access valuable personal information and data, these scams are often made to look credible and enticing to get recipients to click on a link or donate to something.
- Phishing Emails
Phishing emails are the most common type of scam. Some indicators that you’ve received a phishing email include misspellings in the address or body of text, a request for sensitive information and a sense of urgency. Real companies have domain emails and won’t force you to a website. Watch out for emails asking you to send your password, credit card information, credit scores, or social security or account numbers.
- Emails Containing Fraudulent Bank Loan or Credit Card Offers
Though it might seem unlikely, people are often scammed by fictitious bank offers that promise to guarantee large amounts of money, such as through false approvals by a bank. Recipients are often trapped by paying the “mandatory” processing fees. One question to consider is, “How can a bank offer me this large amount of money without analyzing my financial situation?” Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Fictitious Charities and Causes
When a crisis or natural disaster occurs, an attacker often uses an email scam preying on willing donors to a charity or cause. Scammers try to make it seem as though they are part of a charitable organization and ask potential donors to donate to a fake charity. Often, the scammers will make vague, sentimental claims about how your donation will help, and try to rush you into making a decision. The payment methods that scammers prefer will vary but recent requests are through gift cards and wired money. Before donating to any charity or organization, be sure you do the research, keep a record of your donations, and verify that you know who is receiving your donation.
For information on the recent gift card scam, read Scam Alert: Worshippers Beware.
As always, your security is our top priority. Monitoring your account closely and taking advantage of consumer protection services can help keep your account(s) safe. Please note, First Bank will never ask for personal information via email or text message. For additional information on how to safeguard your accounts, precautions to take, and other security solutions, visit our Client Security Center.
Source: Heimdal Security, UC Berkeley Information Security Office