Category Archives: online security

internet security phishing

7 Measures to Protect Yourself from an Internet Scammer

According to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Report, US consumers lost nearly $5 billion to the Internet scammer with over 1.5 million people affected in 5 years.

Before the crime occurred, many thought — what are the chances? It will never happen to me. But with internet scams this common, your chances are much greater than you think.

Let’s explore how to beat scammers at their own game by getting informed and taking measures to prevent cybercrime.

1) Realize How the Scammer Operates

Scammers are skilled at connecting with people when their guards are down.

You might meet them on a website you trust. They may say all the right things to show that they understand your business or personal challenges.

They’ve got the solution.

When someone commits a crime in the “real world” how often do you hear people say things like:

  • We never suspected her
  • He’s such a nice boy
  • But she’s committed her life to working with children

It’s because people who commit crimes for a living hone their skills and they know how to cover their tracks. They place themselves where you’d least expect them.

What they do is well thought out, researched and scripted. This can make it seem like a losing proposition for you. But there are ways not get pulled in.

2) Manage Your Empathy

Being an empathic person is not a character flaw. It means you have high emotional intelligence. But cybercriminals count on the good nature of their victims.

They target people who seem very kind and compassionate. That’s because they know that it will be difficult for someone with this empathy to:

  • Say “no”
  • Cut off the conversation
  • Hurt someone’s feelings

Living in fear and not caring isn’t the answer. But keep your radar up.

If someone starts telling you sob stories or subtly trying to make you feel bad or convince you to do something, they may be a scammer.

3) Get Informed about Phishing

You get an email from Paypal or your bank. They tell you that they think your account’s been hacked. They need you to log in and verify it’s you.

Or you get an email from your web host. They have a new offer for you that they want you to check out.

The email looks very formal — exactly like an email from the company.

Do you click that link to sign in? Don’t do it.

The message may be slightly different. But their goals are the same. They’re trying to get your username and password so they can gain access to your account.

When you click the link, you’ll go to a site that looks just like the website you know.

These are hard to detect. They could actually be real emails from a company you trust.

Your best thing you can do is go to the website through your browser — not the link. Check it out to see if there was any truth to the email.

4) Resist the Irresistible

You receive an email a guy named Steve. The subject reads something like:

I forgot to send you this file OR

I really liked the site. You should check it out

The name sounds familiar. Maybe it’s someone you forgot about meeting on social or through work.

The email sounds very personable. This person seems to know you and they share just a little about how great this attachment is.

You’re really curious now. But don’t click.

These are tell-tale signs of a scammer. Clicking on the link could give the scammer access to your passwords, your website, personal information, and computer.

It could also be ransomware, which we’ll talk about next.

They’re counting on making that file irresistible to click. But they’re not using hard sales tactics. Instead, they act like your best friend.

5) Learn About Ransomware

You’re browsing along. You click a link. And suddenly your screen freezes. You can’t do anything. Shutting down doesn’t work.

You get a message to send them $300 to unlock your computer. If you don’t, they assure you, you’ll lose everything on your device.

We store our entire lives on our devices; this can be devastating.

Here’s what to do to protect yourself

    1. Back your computer up on a separate secure drive
    2. Keep your virus protector up to date
    3. Don’t click on questionable links
    4. Don’t pay the money. Help stop making this profitable for scammers

6) Update Your Passwords Now

If you don’t create strong passwords or use password best practices, you’re not alone. This makes you a target.

If you’ve been using weak passwords, update them today.

Here’s how to create a super strong password you can actually remember.

  1. Think of an 8-12 word phrase from a movie you know by heart
  2. Pull up a notepad on your device
  3. Jot down the first letter of each word in the phrase
  4. Change out any letters that look like numbers for numbers (e.g. 5 for S)
  5. Change out at least 1 letter that looks like a symbol (e.g # for H)
  6. Capitalize 1 letter in the middle that has emphasis
  7. Memorize it while saying the phrase in your head
  8. Trash the note you created

Create a password for high-security sites like banking and retirement. Use a different phrase to create another high-security for social accounts. Never use the same high-security PW on low-security sites.

For best results, have a different password for every high-security site.

7) Buy Sister Domain Names

If you have a website for your .edu site or .org site, it’s a good idea to also buy the .com version to prevent someone from funneling traffic away from your site.

DMV.com and DMV.org, for example, are not associated with the government agency DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). But they benefit from traffic when people are looking for the “real” DMV. And if they wanted to, they could use this to scam people.

If you have a brand to protect, then buying sister domains is a smart idea.

Services like Revision Legal specialize in helping businesses reclaim their names.

The Scammer Doesn’t Have to Make the Internet a Scary Place

When you understand what to look for and take measures, you can prevent cybercrime. Manage your empathy. Learn about Phishing. Don’t click suspicious links. Update your passwords.

To learn more about staying safe online, follow our blog today!

internet security systems

5 Internet Security Systems You Should Take Advantage Of

The economic effect of a national cybersecurity breach costs around $47 billion. Governments are taking great care to protect their internet security systems from hackers and scam artists, and your business should do the same.

While you won’t be spending billions of dollars trying to recover lost or stolen information, you could end up spending hundreds of thousands, especially if client data gets taken.

The best way to ensure that your data remains secure is to maintain active internet security systems. These are the top 5 recommended systems.

1. Incorporate Cloud Security

Cloud security is quickly gaining in popularity. It provides a lot of advantages. Some of the main ones include:

  • Protection against DDoS (distributed denial of service attacks)
  • Flexibility
  • High Availability
  • Quick Support Convenience

There are many other benefits to using cloud internet security systems but these are some of the most appealing ones to businesses.

Cloud security doesn’t exist on a hard drive meaning they can be accessed wherever you go. Also, because of this reason, they are able to cut down on costs.

Click here for an excellent cloud security system option.

2. Purchase Antivirus Software

The next security system you should look into is an antivirus software. This will help protect your system from nasty bugs that will try and crash it.

Some viruses are even vicious enough to corrupt data or delete it. Meaning that if your computer isn’t backed up, the information could be lost forever.

3. Install Firewalls

The third security system you should add is a firewall. Firewalls block outside parties or unauthorized individuals from entering through a backdoor on your computer.

However, they still permit outward communication. This is effective for all computers, both personal and business.

Leave the firewall on permanently to best protect your system.

4. Utilize Anti-Spyware Software

The next system is anti-spyware software. This software blocks websites and individuals from collecting information about you.

This is effective because often that information is sold to third party websites and becomes a major target for spam.

5. Understand the Danger of the IoT

The last security system you need to understand is that of IoT. IoT stands for the Internet of Things. It refers to the fact that so much of our daily life and objects revolve around the internet.

Nowadays even our locks, coffee makers, and lights can be controlled from our phone. For this reason, it’s important to obtain mobile security as well. Here are 5 mobile security apps that protect you wherever you are.

Stay Prepared with Internet Security Systems

Thousands of websites are under attack every day. Are you protecting yours? Find out where your website is the weakest and which of these 5 systems will best protect it.

Then increase security from there.

As hackers become more powerful and prevalent so do the internet security systems. Think of them as your virtual security guards.

Don’t just choose the one that lookest the shinest or costs the least. Instead, make sure they cover these five systems.

For more questions about security and spam filters contact us below, or leave a comment if you’d like to add something!

 

online safety tips security keyboard

6 Online Safety Tips to Outsmart Hackers

Last year, hackers and other cybercriminals raked in an astounding $445 billion dollars. From DDoS attacks to phishing and selling passwords, it appears that, unfortunately, crime does pay.

Though avoiding the internet is pretty much not possible, there’s no need to be a victim.

Here are six online safety tips anyone can use to outsmart hackers and keep their data safe and secure.

1. Be Smarter About Password Choices

It’s important to be smarter about how we construct passwords. Believe it or not, the most popular passwords still include ‘12345’ and ‘password’.

Really. We can’t believe it either.

Passwords so simple are practically begging to be stolen. Make sure to take extra measures to create smarter, more secure passwords.

Get more creative and implement letters, numbers, and even special characters. The more diverse the password, the more difficult it’ll be for a hacker to crack.

2. Know When (And When Not) To Change Passwords

It isn’t enough to just be smart about choosing the right password. Time is of the essence, as they say.

However, this is where things take a turn for the weird. It’d make sense that someone would want to change their password at least a few times a year. Originally, this was thought to be the best practice.

But it’s actually recommended that users create stronger passwords and change them infrequently.

While it’s still a good idea to change passwords once every 8 or 9 months, anything more isn’t necessary.

3. Do Research On Common Threats

Online safety tips aren’t all about netiquette. Sometimes a little reading can go a long way. Be smart and proactive in understanding common threats, and it’ll be far easier to stay safe.

Most people don’t know much about the various threats out there. For instance, what’s the difference between phishing and a DDoS attack?

Knowing the difference may just save a user’s information from hackers.

For the technologically clueless, it’s time to research. Take an interest in cybersecurity.

Learn about famous attacks and how they were executed. Examine the definitions of common terms like phishing, malware, and eavesdropping.

A smart computer user is a hacker’s worst nightmare.

4. Be Extra Careful On Public WiFi Networks

More restaurants, coffee shops, and public locations are starting to implement free WiFi for customers. While this is a great idea for consumers, it’s also a goldmine for hackers as these networks are often unregulated and entirely unsecured.

We’re not saying don’t enjoy that latte and Instagram binge, just be smart about it and use a VPN.

5. Don’t Use Auto-Fill

It can be tempting to use auto-fill to enter data fields such as a name, address, and credit card info. But doing so makes it so much easier for hackers with a keylogger to gain access to that information.

Therefore, it’s never recommended that users take advantage of auto-fill. It’s convenient, yes, but it just takes one auto-fill for a hacker to gain access to critical info.

6. Avoid Phishy Links

Pardon the pun, but the point still stands.

Unfortunately, hackers understand that the average computer user is smarter than they were a decade ago. As a result, they’ve started implementing more devious methods.

These include posing as trusted sources of authority, such as Apple or the IRS.

In these instances, it’s important to pay attention to the sender’s address or website structure. It rarely, if ever, looks close to a genuine address.

Final Thoughts On Online Safety Tips

Staying safe and secure on the net isn’t as difficult as previously believed. With these tips in tow, it’s possible to keep private information out of the hands of the wrong people.

Be sure to check back often for more great ways to stay safer on the net. And don’t forget to check out our great list of discounts to help you stay safer for less!

iot hack security

How the IoT Makes Your Site Vulnerable to a Web Hacker

Did you know that by 2020, we can expect every human on earth to have more than 4 devices connecting to the internet? That’s equivalent to more than 24 billion devices.

It’s all thanks to the IoT or the “Internet of Things.” Simply put, the IoT refers to Internet V.2, where things create data. Under the IoT umbrella, we have smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and even everyday objects such as smart TVs, refs, cars, and so on.

But like most things, the IoT comes with benefits and risks. Here, we’ll take a closer look at how a web hacker can use the IoT to his or her advantage and what you can do to protect yourself.

IoT Security Issues

You’re familiar with malware and ransomware. But there’s another threat known as creepware that gives hackers full remote access and control of your computer. What’s even more alarming about creepware is that it can get quickly installed without you knowing about it.

Now, with a laptop or computer, you probably have an idea as to what you should do to protect yourself from a possible cyber attack. You can update your antivirus or internet security software, backup your files, and so on.

But how do you do that with smart lights for example, or a robot vacuum or smart speakers? These devices are just as vulnerable to hacking as are computers and laptops. A web hacker can steal your information from a connected device or from the software applications and network connections that link to that device.

internet of things

IoT in our economy: Image via LinkedIn

IoT Privacy and Safety Issues

Let’s say you want to keep track of your expenses and you decide to download a budgeting app. It goes without saying that you don’t want everyone to know about your spending habits. But how confident are you that this information won’t leak out or that someone won’t use it for something nefarious?

That’s the risk you take with getting more connected devices. Since each gadget creates data, you also create more entry points for a web hacker.

And cyber attacks using your personal information can happen in many ways. It could mean someone changing your prescription. Or it could be an attack on your business.

If you’re a spa owner, for example, a hacker can disrupt your business in such a way that you won’t be able to access your client records, online bookings, confirmations, and so on. Your best bet, in this case, is to go for a secure software such as Orchid Spa Software. Click here to learn more about it.

Protect Yourself from a Web Hacker

There are security measures you can take to make your devices safe from cyber attacks. You can install software updates as soon as they are available. Make sure you lock your phone when it’s not in use, and be careful when installing apps from third-party sites.

If you have a website that you want to keep safe from hackers, you should check out our reports on Hacked Companies and How Your Website is a Security Risk.

antivirus app

5 Mobile Security Apps that Protect You on the Go

The number of mobile ransomware attacks skyrocketed by more than 250% in 2017.

However, the risk of having your data held for ransom is just the beginning. More than two-thirds of popular mobile apps are susceptible to cyber attacks. Hackers can use these apps to gain access to anything from your billing info to your camera and mic.

Due to these threats, mobile security is now more important than ever for keeping your personal information out of the wrong hands.

Keep reading for a quick look at 5 of the best mobile security apps on the market today!

1. Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus & AppLock

Developed by one of the biggest names in cybersecurity, this app offers all-around mobile protection. It prevents malware from infecting your device and filters out problematic websites. It also helps you avoid phishing threats, which are responsible for many data leak cases.

If you’re worried that your device is already infected, it scans your device for viruses.

Kaspersky Mobile offers other useful features too. It can hide private messages and files, and you can also use it to block spam texts.

2. Norton Snap QR Code Reader

You can find QR codes everywhere you go nowadays. It’s easy to assume that all QR codes are safe, but that’s not always the case. Some codes link to sites with viruses.

When you scan a QR code using this app, it will check to see if the destination is safe. If the app determines the site is unsafe, it prevents it from loading on your mobile device. This app also reveals the entire site address rather than the shortened version.

3. Avast Mobile Security

Like most security apps, Avast blocks viruses and malware and scans your device. That said, this app also allows you to encrypt your photo library with a password.

Additionally, if you ever get nervous about connecting to a wifi network, this app has you covered. Avast gives you the ability to check whether a wifi network is secure before using it.

4. Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus

Whether you’re going through security awareness training for employees or own a personal device, it’s important to learn how to use security software properly. This app makes things easier for you by running quietly in the background.

It offers the same features as most other high-end mobile security apps. But what helps Bitdefender stand out is its superb malware detection rate. The app also updates its database frequently, making sure your device remains well-protected.

5. Firefox Focus

It’s common to run into pop-up ads when using a mobile internet browser. However, companies will also use trackers to collect your data so they can target you with ads.

This app blocks pop-up ads and trackers on its own. With just one tap, you can delete your entire history as well.

Without ads and trackers, this browser requires less data to load pages. As a result, you may notice a faster web surfing experience too.

web security

Final Thoughts on Mobile Security Apps

Each of the 5 mobile security apps listed above can help provide a peace of mind. However, there are a few other steps you can take to minimize your risks.

First, read the reviews for apps before downloading them. Rather than looking only at the star rating, scan the content of the reviews to look for any patterns.

Pay attention to the permissions you grant for each app. For example, if you download a game, you don’t need to give it access to your camera and contacts.

Also, don’t forget to check out our list of tech and security discounts!


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