3 Internet Scams You CAN Protect Yourself From

 

There are many kinds of scams, malware and dangerous files on the internet. Learning how to stay safe while browsing the internet can help prevent vulnerabilities within your computer and network. Several things to watch out for when surfing the web include the following: phishing scams, unreliable downloads, and spoofed links. 

Phishing   

Did you know that 95% of successful cyberattacks are a result of phishing? 1 Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker impersonates a reputable entity to gain important personal information. This can come in many forms, including fake websites, emails, or even phone calls requesting personal information.   

How can you protect yourself?   

No one wants to be victim of a phishing scam. We could write a book about how to avoid these scams, but we’ll start with one sound piece of advice: Be sure to validate the sender before giving out your personal information. Interested in learning more? We will be posting a “top 10 basic ways to avoid phishing scams” on our blog later this month!  

Internet Downloads  

Most important data are stored on personal devices such as computers. Because of this, it has never been more important to protect yourself against hackers. One of the many ways hackers can access (and attack) your computer is by getting you to download unsafe files. These unsafe files are not always easy to identify, and if downloaded can infect your device with malware or viruses. These viruses are then used by hackers to obtain important data from your device.   

How can you protect yourself?   

You can prevent the possibility of your device getting infected by malware by (1) running scans on all downloaded software and (2) evaluating the download site. Sites like https://www.virustotal.com/ include free scans to detect if downloaded data includes malware. However, these free sites only include minimal protection. The best route to take is to get an antivirus software and hire someone to constantly monitor your network.  

Beware of Links  

Legitimate companies occasionally email customers with a link asking to verify your personal information. These types of emails are often forged by scammers to steal personal information. If it is a company you often use (i.e. online shopping, subscriptions, previous business communications, etc.), you may be tempted to immediately click the link to verify the requested information. It is important to educate yourself on how to identify a safe link from a spoofed link.  

How can you protect yourself?   

Check the URL provided to ensure it is coming from the exact correct address. Just because an address looks mostly normal, it doesn’t always mean you are on a legitimate site.  

For example, the URL “https://amazonn.com” is a spoofed website that contains a similar look to “http://amazon.com“. The website is fraudulent and will try to capture and steal information that users enter. 

How can you check if a website is verified?

  

Look for signs that the site is secure and encrypted. The beginning of the website should include “https” or a padlock icon like the one pictured above; these indicate that your data on the website is encrypted and protected.  

For more information on safe practices for internet browsing, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook! We will post each week with alerts about our new blog posts. For our technical services please contact us at (360)-516-6741.  

Sources: 

  1. https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/phishing-remains-top-attack-vector/ 

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