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5 Ways To Keep Cyber Criminals At Bay This Holiday Dec 04, 2017
The holidays are a magical time. Snow covered trees, festive lights decorating houses, time with family, parties . . . and an incredible increase in cybercrime and cyber criminals.
Didn’t see that one coming did you?
The cyber criminals think and hope so too.
While people hit the web to shop for holiday gifts, deals and plane tickets to visit loved ones, hackers are doing their best to steal your data and use it for their own purposes.
In the spirit of giving, check out these 5 quick tips to keep cyber criminals and hackers at bay during the holiday!
5 quick tips to keep cyber criminals and hackers at bay during the holiday
1. Make sure that you do your shopping at secure websites
Any time you are purchasing something online you want to make sure you are doing so from a secure website. A secure website will encrypt your information. The means that only the authorized parties (the seller) receives that information and it can’t fall into the hands of hackers or criminals.
You can tell if a website is secure by looking at the URL. If the URL begins with https:// that means it is secure. Specifically you are looking for the S after the http portion. You may also see a lock symbol. Make sure that you never enter information into a website without this. Look out for locks with warning symbols like question marks or red lines – this signals that the site is only partially encrypted and you should never trust it. Buy your stuff somewhere else.
2. Use Credit Cards instead of Debit Cards online – and probably in general where possible
There are so many different ways scammers attack your data. Think back to the big breaches of the last few years – Target, Home Depot etc. Your data can get stolen both online and at brick and mortar locations.
The most secure thing – aside from cash which obviously cannot be used for shopping online – is to shop with a credit card. Credit card companies are required to protect you from fraudulent purchases, if your account number is stolen or even if you purchase something online and it is never delivered.
The protections a consumer is guaranteed by credit cards far outweighs protections offered with debit cards and obviously, if your info is stolen, you’d much rather have that happen on a credit card than having your bank account liquidated.
3. Sign up for alerts
There are many options out there for alert programs and applications. Some let you know any time your social security number is used, some monitor your credit score and other vital information.
In regard to your credit cards and bank accounts specifically, you can have alerts sent to your email or your smartphone via text for activity. For example, you can have any purchase made on your bank card/credit card alert your phone. If that seems a bit overboard, you can set it up to alert you to purchases over a specific threshold.
Additionally, you want to make sure you are checking your bank account every day or so just to make sure nothing strange is occurring. That goes for holiday season and the rest of the year.
4. Check out third party payment systems
You’ve probably heard of PayPal but have you ever looked into why using a third party payment system like PayPal is beneficial for both the buyer and the seller?
Systems like these are middle men that help protect both sides of a transaction. The seller knows that the funds are verified but the seller also gets NO ACCESS to your account information. This is a great benefit to you. Instead of using your card and spreading your information from site to site and exposing your information to different destinations, your information is shared with one company.
Another benefit is that these third party payment options are readily available at most stores online and even at brick and mortar locations these days.
Some popular options are PayPal as mentioned, Apple Pay, Amazon Payments, Venmo, Samsung Pay and more.
5. Check Reviews and beware of the “Too Good To Be True”
It is the season for deals without a doubt. But be smart when you see an offer for something that is well below the market value.
That new iPhone isn’t going to retail for $200 no matter how great a deal they are giving you. Hate to say it but there is no free lunch and one of the best ways for criminals to get you on their sites is by advertising an incredible price for a product.
Even Amazon isn’t immune to this. Bogus retailers will advertise products that are never delivered or that have no resemblance to the pictures online. Pretty sure we have all fallen victim to that, holiday season or not.
But this time of year, make sure you read reviews. Do your research and take all the steps available to you to ensure you are protected.
We hope you have a great end of year and that you start 2018 without any personal stories about how cybercrime impacted your holidays.
If you have any further questions, feel free to reach our team and shop safe!
The post 5 Ways To Keep Cyber Criminals At Bay This Holiday appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.How to Spot Phishing Scams and Stop Cyber-Criminals from Stealing Your Data Apr 27, 2018
Cyber-Security is a big topic in the news. New businesses fall victim to hackers and cyber criminals daily.
Even high quality security programs and protocols can fall victim to cyber-bullies without proper employee training, awareness and attention to detail.
We believe education is one of the best defenses against cyber criminals.
With that in mind, we want to provide some valuable tips for spotting and avoiding one of the most popular scams/tactics cyber-criminals use against you: the Phishing Scam.
Email is essential to your business and every day communication. It is also one of the prime spaces hackers focus on to steal your information and sneak into your network.
This is because it is SO much easier to get a person to click on a link, input account info or download a corrupt file via an email scam than many other hacker strategies.
You’ve probably heard this but it’s true – “There’s one person in every office that will click on anything.”
Hopefully that person isn’t you!
But – with the information below, you’ll learn how to spot these scams and some strategies to avoid them altogether.
Phishing Scams 101
What are some of the Goals of Phishing Scams?
- Steal Sensitive Personal Info – Credit Card Info, Account Login Info, Personally Identifiable Information (SSN, Birth Date etc.)
- Gain control of your computer or network
- Install malware or other computer viruses
How do cyber-criminals convince you to fall for their plans?
- Deliver file attachments with harmful software enclosed – viruses/malware/keystroke loggers
- Trick you into clicking on bad websites that secretly infect your PC with viruses etc.
- Convincing you to give them username info and password info to desired accounts
Things you should look out for to spot and prevent Phishing Scams
- Make sure that the “reply to” email address matches the sent address
- Any message that creates a sense of urgency – especially regarding login info
- Any message that requests sensitive data
- Questionable links or links that don’t match the anticipated site/source
- Random social media messages asking you to click a link to see a video or receive specific info
Keep in mind and remember that legitimate companies won’t email you asking for passwords, sensitive info (social security numbers) or other sensitive data via email.
Sample Phishing Scams Explained:
- The ‘From’ email address is suspicious
- ‘From’ and ‘Reply-To’ are different and both are suspicious again
- When you hover over the ‘Restore Access’ button there is a link that doesn’t match any Microsoft destinations
- Bad sender domain
- Suspicious Subject & Content – generic name and sense of urgency to give up account info
- Bad grammar
- Suspicious link if you hover over the masked link.
- Bad domain in ‘From’ section – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Generic Greeting
- Bad link redirect
- Sense of Urgency in message to get your account info
Response Strategies/Protocols for suspected phishing emails:
In the office it is important to have conversations with employees and make sure everyone knows what to do if they suspect a bad email.
- We recommend alerting your IT partner or IT staff members of the issue.
- NEVER click any links you think are suspicious.
- If you are unsure of an email you can always contact the related company direct. For example, with respect to any of the above emails you can always go directly to their official page, grab contact info and call/contact support to confirm that the email is real.
- NEVER use contact info in a suspicious email to figure out whether it is real or not. Criminals put fake phone numbers and contact info in their messages so of course they will tell you that the email is real.
- Hold regular cyber security and data security training in your office to make sure employees are up to speed on the latest techniques/red flags.
The post How to Spot Phishing Scams and Stop Cyber-Criminals from Stealing Your Data appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Hackers Are Hiding Code In Images To Fool Mac Users Feb 16, 2019
In the world of hacking, steganography ranks as one of the most difficult methodologies to detect.
If you're not familiar with the term, it is the practice of embedding executable code inside images, which makes it virtually impossible to detect.
The reason is simple:� Virus scanners are built around the idea of searching for text strings with identifiable malicious characteristics and markers, but images aren't that at all.� However, if carefully crafted, they can deliver the same poisoned payloads.
Recently, Apple users have been experiencing this firsthand, courtesy of a group calling themselves 'VeryMal,' which has been targeting Apple users in exactly this way. They've been using code embedded in ad images to redirect users browsing the web away from legitimate sites and onto malicious ones, which serve as hosts for a variety of malware.
Here's a quick rundown of how it works:
- Hackers purchase ad space on a legitimate website
- The ad image they load contains code embedded in the image itself
- If the result of that query is positive, the script extracts the rest of the code from the image, which forces the user's browser to navigate to a new URL as defined by the command code
- The user arrives at a page displaying popup ads, most commonly urging the installation of an update for software, in most cases Adobe Flash Player
Of course, it's not a Flash update at all, but whatever malware the hackers have seen fit to put in its place. It's a nasty bit of trickery that so far, has managed to hijack more than five million web sessions, siphoning them away from legitimate sites. This is based on the latest research into the group's activities, and worse, there's no good way to guard against it except to be vigilant and watch the behavior of your web browser closely.
If your company uses Apple equipment, make sure your people are aware.� VeryMal has been stepping up their activities in recent weeks.