Every day, parents and caregivers teach kids basic safety practices ‒ like looking both ways before crossing the street and holding an adult’s hand in a crowded place. Easy-to-learn life lessons for online safety and privacy begin with parents leading the way. Learning good cybersecurity practices can also help set a strong foundation for a career in the industry. With family members using the internet to engage in social media, adjust the home thermostat or shop for the latest connected toy, it is vital to make certain that the entire household ‒ including children – learn to use the internet safely and responsibly and that networks and mobile devices are secure.
We are excited to kick off the first week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2018!
This week we will focus on how you can stay secure at home, starting with an introduction to Phishing. Phishing is the act of using technology to persuade individuals to reveal potentially sensitive information about themselves or others. Believe it or not, phishing affects everyone. Do you know what it looks like? Learning to identifying phishing attempts will help protect yourself and your family from malicious phishing attacks.
Sometimes, phishing attacks are personalized by investigating you on Facebook, Linkedin, and other online sites and using information found there to more easily trick you. These targeted attacks are called Spear Phishing.
When receiving an initial email that suggests you need to take some action or click on a link to find out more, be sure to verify the address is actually correct. For instance, the addresses “BamaFan215@mail.com” and “BamaFan2I5@mail.com” look similar enough that you might not notice the difference if you’re in a rush. (Spoiler alert: compare the number again!) Also common among email phishing is misspelling common words and phrases. While a PR team for an actual company will find and fix any mistakes in a communication before a customer ever sees it, scammers typically don’t put in as much effort when crafting a phishing email. If you’re ever in doubt of a sender’s authenticity, a good response is just to reach out to the company directly and inquire about them.
The hover technique is a popular way to view the destination of a hyperlink before clicking on it. This is done by simply hovering your mouse cursor over a potentially nefarious link, and typically, the actual URL is shown in the bottom left corner of the screen. This is a great way to verify the actual destination of a potentially malicious link before diving face first into the site. For example, someone could link you to www.facebook.com. Which is just a link to Facebook, right? Wait, is it? (PS, welcome to the “You’ve been Rick Rolled” club.)
Any unsolicited request for personal, health, or financial information in email OR over the phone has a very high percentage of being a phishing scam. If you ever receive an email from a self-proclaimed “Nigerian Prince”, go ahead and quickly delete it. Also, the IRS will likely NEVER call you out of the blue. If you do get an unsolicited call from the “IRS” asking to discuss your late payments or taxes, you’re allowed to hang up on them. These are both scams designed to steal your SSN, banking information, or hard-earned cash. And speaking of which, before sending or entering any sensitive information online, be sure to check the security of the website by observing the “lock” icon in the corner of the address bar. Another common scam has to do with getting you to go buy gift cards or itunes cards and sending them pictures of the barcodes. While it may seem obvious to you that the IRS doesn’t require you to buy 50 itunes cards, people fall for this every week.