Cyber Security Tips
Online shopping brings out the best in many of us, the convenience, the excitement, the packages arriving on our doorstep. But there is a small population that uses the money changing hands and online activity as an opportunity to do some terrible things to not only people individually, but businesses as well.
Phishing, malware, and trojan horse virus packets are developed and distributed every day through the medium we use most: email. And some of the time, you don’t even have to open the email to enact the harmful effects. They can use your email as a backdoor into your online world.
So, how do you prevent these scammers from destroying your livelihood or business?
A phishing scam works by requesting sensitive information to overtake your private system, or at the very least, hijack your information for future use. It is the most straightforward form of identity theft, and millions of people fall for it every day. Why? Because the designers of phishing scams know precisely what buttons to press, and the most common one is easy money.
If they have the basics, they can infect your system with a malware program that steals the rest. Bank accounts, SSI numbers, and even private emails are fair game. They might open credit cards, make bank deposits, or resort to blackmail, armed with little more than the information on your hard drive, which is extensive for most of us.
The only way to win and this game of tic-tac-toe is not to play. That means not opening emails you don’t recognize, knowing what is and is not a phishing scam, and being vigilant. Here are some ways to know for sure that you are being targeted:
- The email sender has many misspelled words or oddly placed periods in the text.
- They ask for sensitive info that no one else would.
- They give you a download you didn’t ask for.
- They call you by your first name, but you don’t know who they are.
- The email domain is odd or suspicious.
- The hyperlink within the email body doesn’t work.
If you see any of these red-flag items, it is time to immediately inform your company’s cybersecurity department.
Secure Online Shopping
Everyone, especially during the days of COVID, prefers to shop online. It’s quick, often free to ship, and your info is already preloaded for auto filling shipment details. And with all that information available to companies, it is very easy for it to be plucked from the air and commandeered by thieves. Here are a few ways to keep them at bay:
- Only shop from stores you know, recognize, and have researched. Reputable stores not only have a history of accepting and shipping online orders, but they also have enhanced firewalls for customer protection. This helps you, and them, to stay as safe as possible.
- Only shop websites that are secure. There are a few ways to determine if a site is secure. Look in the address bar at the top of your website browser. The website address should begin with https:// and have a padlock in the left side of the address bar. While this is not 100% full-proof, it is fairly reliable.
- If a deal is too good to be true, the law of creative anomalies dictates that it probably is. Are there amazing deals? You bet. But are all of them worth giving your credit card numbers to? Let’s call this one about 70% of the time. The other 30% are sure to be someone phishing for free money and info.
- If you pay with a card, only use credit, never debit. Debit links to your bank, while credit has a limit, and once met, it stops working. If a thief can access your bank, they have your whole financial life at their fingertips. If you can’t pay cash, credit is the safer way to go. And credit cards catch scammers with impressive efficiency.
- Change your passwords and make them very strong this time. If you are an aficionado in the wonderful world of eclectic password creation, you have a marketable talent, but if not, always use different letter cases, numbers, symbols, and never anything from your life. P@nda123 is not a strong password if everyone knows you love pandas.
- Shopping sites will only ask you the same basic set of questions to get your shipping and billing info. If you shop a lot online, you have seen these questions and know what is and is not relevant. Suppose you see a question like something about your social security number or mother’s maiden name, high tail it out of there. Those questions only apply to financial data.
Ask Bennett Office Technologies for a Free Assessment
When shopping online, from home or your business, remember, computers have particular vulnerabilities that an excellent black hat hacker can exploit. Be vigilant and keep the evil goldilocks figures out of your online world.
Has your business been a victim of a phishing scam? The Bennett Office Technologies professional Computer Support Technicians are here to help. We can help you restore your PC data, improve performance and speed with computer repairs and upgrades, manage your PC software, upgrade your hardware (RAM and disk space), and prevent future computer problems.
Bennett Office Technologies works closely with clients to make the necessary repairs to your PC or laptop. For assistance on determining your personal or business computer needs contact our team of experts at Bennett Office Technologies. Business owners are welcome to complete our Technology Assessment form and we’ll contact you to do a free assessment.