Digital security expert Norton is putting out the word on internet protection tips. Their message could not be timelier, as cybercriminals increase their efforts during the holiday season to gain access to people’s financial data.
Norton shares, “We’ve noticed a 25% increase in scams worldwide recently, including fake shopping sites.” This statistic is rather frightening and demonstrates the need for computer users to be proactive when it comes to safety. Fake shopping sites are those which pretend to be trustworthy sites. They trick people into entering personal financial information to scam them out of money. In one example, people spend money on products that are “fake” and never arrive. To reduce your chances of becoming a victim, here are internet protection tips worth knowing:
Pay attention to the URL
The URL is the address of a web page. When using the computer, carefully check the web address and domain name for accuracy. Fraudsters often set up bogus web addresses or use domain names that are like that of a legitimate business. Beware of slight variation in spellings or logos. Some scammers may use extra dashes or symbols to take people to bogus sites. They are counting on people mistyping or innocent victims believing they are on an authentic website. They may also use insecure encryption such as HTTP rather than HTTPS. Note that HTTPS keeps communications secure so that malicious parties can’t observe the data being sent, thus helping to protect usernames and passwords. Always type carefully and double check that you are on the authentic website. Likewise, avoid going on sites with insecure encryption.
- Don’t click on links in suspicious emails or ads. Don’t open emails from people you do not know and never click on links from unknown senders. Also beware of links your friends send to you. One simple click on a bad link can download malicious malware onto your computer. Malware contains files that can harvest information stored on your computer. Hackers use this to steal credit card numbers, bank account information, usernames, passwords and more. In addition to stealing sensitive data, malware can damage files and take your device hostage. The FDIC cautions, “If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means.” Extra caution is required when surfing the web. Note that randomly clicking on a link or going to unknown websites on your computer puts your information at risk.
- Stay protected. Keep your computer software up to date and install a preventative software program. Use antivirus, firewall and email filter protection. It’s a good idea to regularly monitor your computer for signs of malware infection, such as sudden performance drops, frequent crashes and freezing, strange pop-up ads or alerts, unfamiliar apps and more. Should your computer experience any of these “symptoms,” have it evaluated for malware. However, note that your first line of defense is prevention. Having reliable antivirus software is a simple way to protect your computer from malware. Additionally, use strong and protected passwords and guard your personal information. When using the computer, keep your thinking cap on. Do not give out your date of birth, Social Security information, account information, or passwords. Be savvy. Understand that deals that appear to be “too good to be true” might indicate a scam. When in doubt, it’s better to pass up a deal than be scammed out of your hard-earned money.
As the holiday shopping season enters full-swing mode, and internet scams are on the rise, people are called to protect themselves from computer associated scams. During this time of year, bad players are increasingly seeking to steal personal data which can result in identity or monetary theft, or both. Or evil doers may attempt to gain ransom or damage a computer’s hardware or software systems. For these reasons, and more, digital security experts like Norton remind people of the importance of cybersecurity for the prevention of attacks by malicious actors. In the name of security during the holiday season, good folks are urged to take care when using their computers and remain up to date on scam prevention to avoid falling victim. We hope these internet protection tips will help you stay safe.
This article is purely informational and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.