October is National Cyber Awareness and Security Month, and there’s no better way to mark the occasion than getting familiar with Internet safety. Although most people understand the basics, such as creating unique passwords and sticking to secure websites, cyber-crime has gotten a lot more sophisticated and cyber criminals are getting smarter.
Make sure you’re aware of new ways cyber criminals can attack you when online.
Cyber security isn’t just an issue for desktops and laptops. People get online using everything from gaming consoles to tablets to smart phones – but people tend to be more lax about security on their mobile devices. They often use third party applications and unsecure wireless networks.
That makes mobile devices perfect targets for cyber criminals, who can easily hack into and steal personal information. To avoid this, be equally cautious on mobile devices as you are on desktop computers. Only use secure websites, and be wary of new applications that are being offered online.
Online gambling can be fun. But it’s also one of the biggest risks for cyber-crime. As more people turn to bingo, online poker, betting and sportsbook sites, cyber criminals are creating sophisticated ways to take advantage of online gamblers. Cyber criminals can use online gambling to steal Social Security numbers, credit card details, names and addresses.
If you gamble online, protect yourself by routinely backing up and identifying your financial and personal data. Make sure you only use secure websites and browsers when playing.
See if your gambling sites partner with an online security alliance. One example is Lockheed Martin’s Cyber Security Alliance – companies such as Symantec, Microsoft and Verizon have recently joined forces with the Alliance to fight cyber-crime and better protect their users.
Fake Business and Employment Opportunities
Business or employment fraud can be a serious threat to individuals looking for work online. Such schemes are often found in emails that require the job seeker to send personal information to a fake company.
When cyber criminals behind these schemes receive personal information, they tell the applicant that they will be paid by bank check. They then send a fraudulent check to the job seeker and subsequently request money back for overpayment.
The fake foreign company– and the cyber criminals behind it – win, while the job seeker loses money and their personal information. To prevent this from happening, thoroughly research any kind of business opportunity you find on the Internet.
Another way that cyber criminals target innocent Internet users is through fake charity websites. To do this, they usually set up a made-up organization to collect donations for a charitable cause. Thinking they are donating to a good cause, Internet users instead give money directly to cyber criminals.
This method is very easy for criminals, because most people would not expect charity organizations to be fraudulent. To avoid this kind of fraud, investigate all charity organizations before donating money.
Social media sites often encourage users to provide as much personal data as possible to target advertisements to users. And many people think of social media as a safe place to share personal information. It’s because of this belief that social media sites are the perfect place for cyber-criminals.
Cyber criminals can use the information on your social media profile to make you a target of online crime. Cyber criminals can use personal data to discover your password and even steal your identity. To avoid this, keep the personal data on your social media accounts to a minimum. Only grant access to people you trust. And be aware of the privacy policies of the sites you use.