Protect Yourself From Cybercrime | News, Sports, Jobs – SANIBEL-CAPTIVA

PHOTO PROVIDED Jeffrey A. Muddell

Recently, we visited Network Security Engineer Evan Lutz, from Blueshift Technologies, to discuss some of the most common and trending issues among cyber hackers and how to deal with them. Too often we hear about friends and family who have been the victims of cybercrime.

Lutz explained that a few tactics are among the most common scams that fall prey to victims:

– Phishing emails are designed to compromise a person’s email, whereby if you “Take the bait” by replying, opening an attachment or clicking on a link, they will chase you further.

– Smishing is the same as phishing, except by SMS. The goal of the scammer in both cases is to gain more and more access to your identity and your money.

– Credential phishing is where the user clicks on a fraudulent link that looks legitimate, such as a message from Microsoft. The email address won’t be exactly correct and the homepage looks like you’d expect, so the scammer is hoping you won’t notice. If you enter your username and password on Microsoft’s fake homepage, hackers now have your “Connection identifiers” and can manipulate your computer and obtain sensitive information.

– Gift cards are popular among scammers. They ask the user to buy a gift card to pay off a bill, a fee, some other debt or obligation or even claim a prize. The request is from a scammer posing as someone you know or an organization you consider to be a credible source. Do not believe it! You will never be contacted and asked to pay for anything with gift cards. Whether you are contacted by text, email or phone call, end the connection and do not click any links. Then block the sender.

– Social media gives crooks a plethora of your personal information. Much of what you put on social media can be used against you by a scammer. For example, they are looking for clues about your safety questions which may include the name of a pet, children or grandchildren, a hobby, the name of the school, etc. They also use social media just to gather information like this in order to impersonate you in order to cheat on someone you know – as explained above in the “gift card” swindle.

What are the top three things you can do to prevent criminals from gaining access to your data?

– Use a reliable password management tool. There are several available such as LastPass, NordPass, Keeper and others. So many people use the same or similar passwords for all of their online access, which is easy for hackers to crack.

“The use of a password management tool considerably reduces the risks and is much more practical” Lutz said. “It’s cloud-based (not your hard drive) and houses all of your passwords in one place, and you need to enable two-factor authentication, so only you can access it.”

He also cautions his clients against keeping a physical list that can be lost, which could be catastrophic.

– Have good protection: keep your antivirus and malware up to date.

– Limit and be specific about your exposure and social media activity as mentioned above.

Is one type of device more susceptible to cybercrime than another?

The problem is the age of your device rather than the type. Tablets and mobile phones 10 years of age or older are considered “end of life.” They can still work but are vulnerable to viruses and hacking because their developers “sunset” an obsolete device and no longer create patches for it.

What are the first steps you can take to mitigate the damage if you have been the victim of a cybercrime?

Change your passwords and usernames immediately. Contact the anti-fraud division of your local police force. Contact your financial institutions and credit card companies and inquire about freezing your credit with the major credit bureaus of TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, so that no one can open accounts or credit cards in your name.

Plus, it can be reassuring to have a trusted Information Technology (IT) manager among your contacts to assist you as needed in situations like this. He or she will help you return your computer or device to a normal state.

Jeffrey A. Muddell works with Wealth Management Services at the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company.

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