Tuesday, October 29, 2019

10 Tips to Avoid Phishing Scams

Security is a big concern in today’s culture. With everything being digital (and therefore hackable), it’s important to make sure you’re protecting yourself as much as possible from threats. Plus, it’s our responsibility as email marketers to exercise safe practices for subscribers too. As email is one of the most popular mediums, phishing is a common security threat that consumers face today. Here are 10 tips from industry experts on how to prevent phishing and keep your info secure.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is the fraudulent sending of emails under the guise of a reputable company with the goal of getting people to share personal information, such as passwords and credit card data.

With roughly 3.8 billion email users worldwide, it’s no surprise that phishers see email as an easy target. For them, it’s just a numbers game. The more people they try to scam, the higher the likelihood of their efforts being rewarded.

Email users are far from insulated from phishing attacks. An email address is one of the easiest pieces of data for someone to get their hands on (we’ve all heard of the underground practice of purchasing subscriber lists). With how simple it is for scammers to find and exploit email addresses, precautions must be taken.

How is Phishing So Rampant?

Crane Hassold is the Senior Director of Threat Research at Agari, and formerly a digital behavior analyst for the FBI. He’s been around the cybersecurity block. According to Hassold, “The thing I find fascinating about phishing is it’s really exploiting a very primal part of human behavior. It’s all about curiosity, trust, and fear. Those qualities are hardwired into humans, so a lot of protection against phishing has to do with conditioning yourself to look out for things that could be a red flag.”

Phishing is such a lucrative livelihood for scammers because it works by playing to people’s basic instincts. It’s these primal tendencies—which are all rooted in self-care and survival—that scammers exploit.

How to Prevent Phishing

1. Investigate every link’s final destination

We’re all email marketers here. Links, UTMs and redirects are sprinkled throughout every email we send. Same with emails that we receive. Just because a link is typed out and looks like a normal hyperlink doesn’t mean the destination is authentic.

To find out if a link is real, hover over it with your mouse and look at the link’s destination in the lower left corner of your browser. This is the real destination, regardless of what the text says.

Alternatively, you can type the URL manually into a new search bar.

2. Be cautious with shortened links

Scammers are like chameleons. They know how to mask their tactics by resembling actions that consumers are already familiar with… like shortening links.

Everyone’s clicked on a Bitly or Linktree link at some point—most likely on social media. Link shortening tools are popular for brands and users since they save character count and look cleaner than a long, messy slug.

Phishers are hip to this trend and employ it themselves. Watch out for shortened links anytime you’re tempted to click, as they might lead to a fake landing page.

3. Take “urgent” deadlines with a grain of salt

No legitimate company will ever ask for your personal data via email. If you see a message that’s trying to get you to take “urgent” action (aka, sending your personal info), call the company directly and ask. When it comes to your data, you’d rather be safe than sorry.

Always make account updates yourself or call the company using the number you find on their website (not the number the email provides—that could be fake too).

Scammers will impose bogus deadlines and will sometimes even use threatening tones in their messages. When you know it’s a phisher, mark that b.s. as spam and send it to the trash where it belongs.

4. Look for the “s” in https://website.com

Some websites start with http:// and others with https://. The “s” in the latter stands for secure and will show a little lock icon next to it. Those websites are safest for browsing and purchasing. Stick to secure websites whenever possible.

5. Change your passwords frequently

We know, we know. This can be a pain in the butt. “Don’t use the same password more than once,” they say. “Change them often,” they harp. Unless you work in IT or Security, you most likely use the same password, like your street name and kid’s birthday. The truth is, having a unique password for each account has never been easier.

There are reputable platforms available you can use to create strong passwords and store them for safekeeping, such as LastPass. Platforms like this one are seamless and reliable for keeping data secure.

6. Don’t allow remote access to your computer

Yep, it happens. Someone reaches out pretending to be from a well-known security firm and wants to help you install software protection on your computer.

1. Don’t install anything from an unverified source.

2. Especially don’t give that unverified source direct access to your computer. That’s a hard no-no.

7. Set up two-factor authentication

Many organizations offer two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security. Take advantage of this whenever possible so no one else can log in without needing your device.

8. Trust your gut instincts

If an email looks or feels off to you (even if you have very little reason to think so), trust your instincts. You’ve likely seen a garbage phishing email at some point, littered with typos and grammatical errors, unprofessional imagery, and just not a clean, crisp experience like you’d normally expect.

When an email or other interaction feels off to you, save yourself a potential headache and trust your gut.

9. Finally, use good judgement

This goes without saying, but it’s perfectly true. The best thing you can do to protect yourself against phishing attacks is plain and simple common sense.

Avoid the unknown. Don’t:

  • Click unknown links
  • Download unknown files or files from unknown sources
  • Open attachments (even on social media) from untrusted sources

10. Report phishing attempts

In email, this is as easy as forwarding the poorly executed attempt to get your personal information to the proper authorities.

If You Think You’ve Been Scammed

Change your passwords immediately—email accounts, financial institutions, your computer login, Facebook, everything. The sooner you can lock them out and slow their progress, the better.

If you think your banking information is at stake, call your bank and let them know asap. They’ll be on high alert for odd account activity.

Use a trusted security software to scan and scrub malware from your computer.

Full credit goes to https://www.emailonacid.com/blog/article/industry-news/how-to-prevent-phishing/

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

10 Most Important Cyber Security Tips for Your Users

1. You Are A Target.

Realize that you are an attractive target to hackers. Don’t ever say “It won’t happen to me.”

2. Eight Characters Is Not Enough.

Practice good password management. Use a strong mix of characters, and don’t use the same password for multiple sites. Don’t share your password with others, don’t write it down, and definitely don’t write it on a post-it note attached to your monitor.

3. Lock It Up.

Never leave your devices unattended. If you need to leave your computer, phone, or tablet for any length of time—no matter how short—lock it up so no one can use it while you’re gone. If you keep sensitive information on a flash drive or external hard drive, make sure to lock it up as well.

4. Practice Safe Clicking.

Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in email. If it’s unexpected or suspicious for any reason, don’t click on it. Double check the URL of the website the link takes you to: bad actors will often take advantage of spelling mistakes to direct you to a harmful domain. Think you can spot a phony website? Try our Phishing Quiz.

5. Beware Of Browsing.

Sensitive browsing, such as banking or shopping, should only be done on a device that belongs to you, on a network that you trust. Whether it’s a friend’s phone, a public computer, or a cafe’s free WiFi—your data could be copied or stolen.

6. Back It Up.

Back up your data regularly, and make sure your anti-virus software is always up to date.

7. Physical Cyber Safety.

Be conscientious of what you plug in to your computer. Malware can be spread through infected flash drives, external hard drives, and even smartphones.

8. Share Less Sensitive Information.

Watch what you’re sharing on social networks. Criminals can befriend you and easily gain access to a shocking amount of information—where you go to school, where you work, when you’re on vacation—that could help them gain access to more valuable data.

9. Cut Out The “Middle Man”.

Offline, be wary of social engineering, where someone attempts to gain information from you through manipulation. If someone calls or emails you asking for sensitive information, it’s okay to say no. You can always call the company directly to verify credentials before giving out any information.

10. Stay On Top Of  Your Accounts.

Be sure to monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity. If you see something unfamiliar, it could be a sign that you’ve been compromised.

All credit for this article goes to :

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Staying safe online

Image result for safe online

6 Tips for Staying Safe Online

According to a Microsoft Security Intelligence report, 16 million households have experienced a serious virus problem in the last two years. What’s the estimated cost to families impacted by viruses, spyware, and phishing? A whopping $4.55 billion!

The costs of viruses and other online cyber threats can add up fast:

Cost of virus removal
Lost productivity while computer is down
Compromised bank or credit card information
Repairs for computer systems that are damaged
Replacement of damaged devices or routers
Avoid all that by adopting these good internet habits.

1. Install a Trusted Antivirus Software.

Antivirus software can stop internet-based threats and warn you of dangerous websites. They’re your first line of defense against virus removal. Be sure to keep your antivirus updated and make sure everyone’s computer in your household uses one.

2. Be Careful What You Download, Including Apps

You do a quick search on free photo software, and just assume something in the first few search results must be a safe site, right? Wrong. Never download software or apps from sites or vendors you don’t know or haven’t researched. Just one click can open your desktop or mobile device to a hacker.

3. Look for the HTTPS

That little bit of text before the “www” means a lot. If a site has just “http” that means it’s not secure. The “https” has a padlock in the URL field and indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble any data you share. This is especially a must for any site you shop with and share your credit card details on.

4. Think Before You Click that Email Link

Phishing emails are the top delivery method for viruses and malware. They’re designed to look like a legitimate email from businesses you might know, but when you click the link, you’re taken to a site that can download a virus on your computer.

Learn to hover over email links without clicking. That can reveal that the real URL looks nothing like the legitimate site you thought it was and save you from a big click mistake.

5. Get a Good Password Manager

Hackers know the top passwords that people use and can easily get past them to gain entry into your system. Use a password manager to generate and save complex passwords that are much harder to get past.

6. Turn off Location Services on Mobile Devices

It’s fun to share photos online, but strangers don’t really need a mapped location to the dog park near your house. Turn off location services on your mobile devices to ensure you’re not giving away more information about you and your family than you want to.

all credit for this article goes to https://www.connect2geek.com/tips-safe-internet-browsing/