How to Protect Yourself Against Everyday Cyber Threats

  
     
June 02, 2017

Media contact: Tom Bartholomy 704-927-8613

There has been no shortage of news in the last few weeks of various widespread cyber attacks taking place locally and abroad. A Google Doc phishing email recently affected over a million unsuspecting individuals and businesses, the WannaCry ransomware took over computers in over 150 countries; even our BBB office has been seeing malicious emails come through this week, disguised as DropBox links or invoice attachments. So how can you protect yourself from these kinds of threats?

Always be wary of links or attachments in an email. Emails from unknown senders or that don’t have a personal greeting are especially suspicious. When in doubt, delete it and reach out to that person directly to ask if they did in fact send you something. 

Never provide personal information over the internet unless you’re certain the site is secure. A common phishing scam comes via email, appearing to be from well-known sources like your bank or utility company. The link takes you to a spoof site in an attempt to capture your personal information when you log in. One thing to look for is an accurate URL and “https” in the search bar – the “s” means secure.

Prevent infections by keeping your anti-virus, anti-malware and operating systems up to date. These updates often contain patches to safeguard against new threats, so it’s important to keep your machines clean in that regard.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Just before Mother’s Day there was a fake coupon circulating on Facebook, promising a $50 Lowe’s coupon in exchange for a short survey. BBB has seen similar scams before and a deal that good should make you pause. In this case, a quick Google search revealed a statement from Lowe’s saying it was a phishing scam.

If you do feel that you’ve been compromised in some way, run your anti-virus software immediately. You should regularly back up your computer so you can easily restore any files that may be lost. You should also closely monitor your bank and credit card statements in the event that sensitive financial information was inadvertently shared. Finally, report any scams using the BBB Scam Tracker by visiting www.bbb.org/scamtracker. Here, you can help us investigate and warn others by sharing your experience.