Are You Under Cyber-Assault? How to Protect Yourself

Do you know who is on the other end of that email address? It might not be as apparent as you think. Can you be sure someone isn’t watching every move you make on your computer? You can’t see them, but they can see every keystroke. We are all under the constant threat of a cyber-assault. Are you protected?

The number of people that access their financial accounts online has nearly doubled in the last couple of years. So, it isn’t surprising that the number of cyber-thieves and online “fraudsters” has also increased. They’re after your money and they are relentless in pursuing any and all technological means to get it. Because their point of entry is your computer, you are really the last line of defense in preventing an assault that could rob you of your identity and your money. The first step of prevention is to know how they can get to you.

Keystroke Logging

Also known as “keylogging,” this is a method prevalent among cyber-thieves that actually records each of your keystrokes and mouse clicks. Keyloggers gain access to your computer’s operating system by imbedding a virus. From that point on, it’s as if you have someone looking over your shoulder the moment you log on to your computer. Every entry of sensitive account information, long-on IDs and passwords, PINs, is captured enabling fraudsters to gain access to your financial accounts as if they were you.

How to prevent keylogging theft:

  • Use reliable anti-virus and anti-malware programs and keep them updatedUpdate your computer’s operating system.
  • Make sure you are using the most recent security patch available.
  • Monitor your financial accounts regularly looking for unusual activity.
  • Never enter personal information over a public-use computer or a computer with which you have no certainty of its security.

Phishing

Even more common is a scam referred to as “phishing” where fraudsters attempt to elicit personal information through phony email notifications or fake websites, both created to look official and legitimate. The typical ploy is to send an email that might look like it originated from a bank or government agency. In it is a request for financial information or a Social Security number that’s needed to verify or update your personal account. It usually includes some form of a threat that your account will be negatively affected without action on your part. You are asked to click on a link that will take you to website where you need to enter your information. The website is facade for fraudsters and the information you enter is now in their hands.

How to prevent a Phishing Attack

  • Don’t open emails from unknown senders. The sender address could include the name of a bank or government agency – know the difference between fake and real addresses.
  • Never, ever open a link in an email to a business website when a request for personal information is made. Legitimate organizations never request personal information through an email.
  • For general fraud protection, you should change your passwords regularly, and avoid using the same passwords on all of your accounts. And, never store your log-on ID or passwords where they could be found.

Cyber-theft is potential threat to all of us, so we must be vigilant and take deliberate measures to prevent it. We hope you find this information to be helpful in your efforts to protect your personal information.

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