24 Apr Tips to Protect Yourself from Cyber Criminals in April 2020
With most of the nation’s residents spending more time at home, cyber criminals have started to ramp up their efforts. Regardless as to whether you’re working from home or you’re a retiree who has started to spend more time on their computer, the following tips can help keep you safe.
Beware of app solicitations
If you get a text solicitation inviting you to download a COVID-19 tracking app, it’s likely a scam. Law enforcement sources have indicated that one version of the app allows hackers to listen to you via your phone’s microphone (and read your text history), another version serves as ransomware. For the latter, the hackers will threaten to erase your phone’s data unless you send them a $100 bitcoin payment.
Be cautious of phishing emails
Phishing emails are hardly a new occurrence, but law enforcement sources warn they may start to become more prevalent. Phishing emails are a scam in which a hacker sends what looks like a legitimate email from a legitimate company. For example, have you received an email from Bank of America or Wells Fargo, asking you to click a link in the email to login your account and change your password? Have you been confused as to why you’ve received that email, because you don’t bank with either financial institution?
These are examples of phishing emails.
If you had an account at one of these banks, and you clicked the link and entered your login credentials, you would have inadvertently provided your login details to a hacker. Be very, very careful about the emails you open. And be very, very wary about clinking on links that are embedded in emails. Lastly, if you receive and email from an unknown sender and that email includes an attachment, do not open it.
Use strong passwords
If your password is JohnDoe123, you should probably change it. Avoid using passwords that use your names, the names of your family members (and pets) and avoid using passwords that include birth dates. Experts recommend using complex, strong passwords for all of your accounts, noting that you should avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. The reason for this, is that if a hacker gains access to your password, they’d be able to access all of your online accounts.
If you have suggestions about how to keep your computer and your home network safe from cybercriminals, we’d love to hear them in the comments. Stay safe!