Online Fraud And How To Stay Safe In A World Of Cybercrime
Online fraud is one of the most common forms of cybercrime. More and more the Internet is used by various criminals to steal the financial data and the identity of millions of people who are clueless about such threats and hazards. These criminals use various methods for stealing such data, the most common being unsolicited email messages and social media interactions.
Main Types Of Fraud You Need To Know About
What makes these cybercriminals even more dangerous is the fact that they continuously change their tactics. Nonetheless, you can increase your online security by becoming aware of the common patterns of such tactics and by using your common sense whenever you encounter them online.
Banking and online shopping are easier today than ever before. You can use your smartphone to check your back account or to pay for your online purchases. The more Internet connected devices you use for such actions, the more gates you open for these virtual criminals to steal your data. Security holes are quickly sorted out, but hackers are always on the search for new ones, so you can never be 100% secure. Norton can be a good solution for preventing cybercrime.
Phishing is one of the oldest and the most popular scams used by these scam artists to steal your personal data and your sensitive financial information.
This type of scam is usually disguised as an email message from one of the major banks, PayPal or social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, informing thew users about the need of entering their personal data in a form. As a matter of fact, this form belongs to a malicious website, so once you fill in your data and send it over, you’ve become their victim.
Pharming is even worse than phishing, because it doesn’t even require the victim to click on anything in order to get scammed.
Here are our top tips for how to avoid viruses and Malware Infections
1. Always check your bank statements
It’s true that online banking opens a huge wormhole, making it easier for cybercriminals to steal your data. Nonetheless, the reverse of this situation is that you can also access your bank statements much easier. Some banks alert their clients whenever they detect a seemingly fraudulent transaction, but you are the only one who can tell whether you’ve made a payment or not. By checking out your bank account frequently, you can discover any fraud attempt sooner rather than later, thus being able to prevent all your money from vanishing.
2. Think Twice Before Opening Email Attachments
Whenever you receive email messages with attachments, you shouldn’t rush into opening them, especially if you don’t know the sender. The most terrifying viruses spread through email attachments. Although major email services providers have filters that stop such messages before they reach their recipients, you should treat such attachments with great care.
3. Always Apply All Operating System And Software Updates
Cybercriminals take advantage of loopholes they detect in various operating systems or in the most commonly used software programs. As programmers become aware, they issue security patches and updates meant to close these loopholes. By always applying the latest updates as soon as they’ve become available, you prevent fraudsters from hijacking your computer.
4. Make Sure You Disable File Sharing On Your Computer
Most computers running on Windows come with the file sharing option enabled by default. This means everybody is the same workgroup can access your files. By disabling file sharing, you can allow only users you know and trust to access the information on your computer.
Computers running on Windows XP and older versions of this OS are extremely exposed, as they aren’t supported by Microsoft anymore. This means they don’t benefit from security patches like more actual systems.
In order to disable file sharing, you need to follow the following steps:
– Open My Computer
– Choose Tools, and then Folder Options
– Select the View tab
– Choose Advanced Settings
– Uncheck Use simple file sharing.
5. Avoid Using Weak Passwords
You should choose strong passwords for all your services. Ideally, each service should have its unique password, as this would make it harder for hackers to get access to your files. A good password should contain at least eight characters, with at least one number and one special character. Always mix upper and lower case, too, in order to make your passwords even stronger.
Avoid using your birth year or various names or personal interests in your passwords. All these can be easy to figure out, because of the information you disclose on your social media pages.
Norton Internet Security uses encryption for all passwords you use, thus increasing their safety. It also monitors your passwords for unapproved usage, thus reducing the risk of entering your password in the wrong place by mistake.
6. Install A Good Antivirus Software Program
Most computer users believe they are safe if their operating system comes with a bundled antivirus program. What they don’t know is that these free programs aren’t enough to protect them against the newest threats and malware scripts, what you really need is a product like Norton Anti virus ( Coupons available )
7. Scan Your Hard Drives Daily
Even the most effectively guarded systems can become the victims of an attack. There are so many new threats and viruses that get launched every day, that there’s always a risk for a system to get infected. Even the smartest security software can be outsmarted by the occasional threat.
This is the reason why a daily scan of all your hard drives can detect such treats and kill them in their early stage, before they get a chance to steal your data. These daily scans can detect and clean most infections, thus adding another layer to the security of your system.
Windows users should consider purchasing professional antivirus programs for protecting their computers, instead of relying on free software. Business-grade antivirus solutions upgrade their virus definition database multiple times per day, thus being always up to date and ready to detect all potential intrusions. They are also very effective against a wider range of threats such as rootkits. These programs allow you to schedule custom scans, as well as other protective features free programs don’t offer.
8. Don’t Click Email Links Or Attachments
If you use a Windows operated computer, you should write this on your wall: don’t click email links and don’t open attachments. Although most people are aware of this piece of advice, they choose to ignore it.
Sometimes, you get distracted by your colleagues or friends, and you forget you shouldn’t click on links nor open attachments in emails you don’t know anything about. Unfortunately, it only takes a split second for a virus to infect your system and steal or destroy vital information.
If you are keen on opening your email attachments, you should at least scan them with a professional, business grade anti-malware software program. If you feel the urge to click on links you receive in your email messages, you should rather copy them and use a browser to access them manually.
9. Secure Your Network
Most people use a Wi-Fi connection to get access to the Internet or to a printer. You should always make sure your Wi-Fi connection can be accessed only via a strong password. WPA or WPA2 encryption is strongly recommended, as WEP can be broken into very easily. You should avoid broadcasting an open Wi-Fi network. In addition, you shouldn’t broadcast your SSID. If you need to grant your friends or guests access to your network, you should provide them a guest SSID that doesn’t use the same password as your main one.
10. Make Regular Backups
You should perform regular backups of your files. One of these backups should be on your hard drive, one on a storage device and one off-site with a product like Carbonite ( see our coupons and review of carbonite here ). This is how you can make sure you are always going to have a copy of your vital data, should anything occur to your system.