Outsmart the Internet Hackers

Outsmart the Internet Hackers

Ten years ago, there were only a handful of wireless Internet hotspots. Today there are hundreds if not thousands. And because they’re made to be easily accessible, they’re wonderlands for evil geeks who can sift through your mail, monitor info you’re transmitting or even access your hard drive. If you log in at a cafe or other public place, follow these rules.

 

Check the name

 

As you search for networks, chances are you’ll see something called ‘Free Public Wi-Fi’. Don’t connect. It could be a trap. Hackers set up networks with friendly, inviting names, hoping unsuspecting users will join. Once you do, you’re compromised. Before you connect to a network, confirm its name with someone – a coffee shop employee.

 

Browse wisely

 

Hackers may still watch you through legitimate networks, so don’t send passwords or credit card info over public Wi-Fi. If you must, do it only on websites with addresses that start with ‘https’. (These are more secure than the usual http sites.)

 

Heed warnings

 

Most error messages are indecipherable – what’s a 404 code, anyway? – but here’s one you must heed: a warning about a site’s certificate being expired or invalid. That’s tech lingo for ‘a hacker may be intercepting everything you do’. If you see this message, check the URL; you may have mistyped it. Try once more, and if the message pops up again, stop what you’re doing, shut down your computer and don’t use that Wi-Fi hotspot. There’s a high risk that the network has been infiltrated.

 

Secure your folders

 

Computers have public folders – often storing your music and photos – and they’re easily made available to anyone using the same network. Make sure you don’t keep anything personal in those folders. To be even more safe, store any private documents on your computer in a password-protected folder, out of the reach of digital intruders.

 

Buy your own network

 

Instead of risking your security on public networks at all, why not travel with your own Internet access? Most telephone companies offer 3G/ HSDPA (wireless broadband Internet).

 

Update security

 

Block gremlins from the start. Keep your antivirus and antispyware programs up to date. These protect you against common attacks. Microsoft offers a free spyware program called Windows Defender.

 

Delete previous network searches

 

Your computer remembers every network it connects to, and it will automatically connect to one it recognizes. The bad guys know that, and create networks with names that have been commonly used before so your computer will choose it. To avoid that, find the list on your computer (the option is often called ‘manage wireless networks’) and clear out anything old.

An Attempt to Define Phishing

An Attempt to Define Phishing

When attempting to define Phishing, there is one constant being the goal: to get hold of your personal information. Phishing scams come in many shapes and sizes. The most common scams are emailed out to millions of people daily. These scams look like legitimate emails from a trusted company or even a government agency.

Typically, in the email, you are asked to click on a link which redirects you to a replica website. In these cases, the websites look exactly like the original one, with minor differences an unsuspecting user would not spot. You must go to the site to take advantage of the particular deal, winnings, or other scam the email explains. At the fraudulent website, you are asked for private information such as credit card details, bank account information, password, etc.

Now, this entire process is a scam that’s been engineered to make you give up your private information. That’s how you define phishing, or what others also refer to as ‘brand spoofing’. Phishing is a play on the word ‘fishing’ as the crooks are out there dangling bait in front of people, hoping for someone to bite.

To define phishing is not enough. You also need more insight into the various forms it can take. While it is impossible to go into all the types of phishing techniques, some more recent methods should be examined.

Money in your Account

In the past, there have been many phishing scams using fake banks. During the past year, thieves have been hammering on a new scam that informs the recipient of the email that there is a large amount of money in his account that needs to be claimed. You are asked to log into the account to claim all the money and provide sensitive information to verify the transaction.

Voice Mail Phishing

Another phishing technique uses voice mail messages which are supposed to be from legitimate organizations. The message is usually framed in a manner to cause some alarm and you are given a toll free number to contact. Once you do, you are required to provide information to confirm your identity so that you can clear up the problem.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing targets a specific individual and sends across highly personalized messages. Because of the personal nature of these messages, it makes them very difficult to recognize as a phishing scam.

Where am I Most Likely to Come Across Phishing?

After you define phishing, it’s important to know the places you are most likely to encounter a phishing scam. The answer to that is, almost anywhere! A message from your bank, company you work for, or even a co-worker could be a phishing scam. Types of websites where these scams are prevalent are social media sites, networking sites and fake charity websites. You can even receive attempted phishing scams on your cell phone or instant messenger programs.