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Cyber Security Tip of the Day: Beware of Complacency

Complacency tends to be a foundation by which computers hackers can take advantage of computer users. When one is able to stay healthy for long periods of time, she can begin to take that health for granted and minor health issues are ignored. Before much longer, an ignored problem becomes a major health issue.

It’s the same way with computer security. Many people never get “hacked” or have criminals take advantage of them via a computer. Years go by and everything seems fine and dandy until one day a hacker covertly succeeds in stealing personal information or money from a computer user. Sitting there scratching her head, the computer user will go in circles retracing steps attempting to figure out what went wrong, and when. Being rid of complacency is not just about securing a computer, it’s also about educating oneself.

How are hackers able to steal money or personal information from computer users? Computer viruses, phishing attacks, and social engineering are some common methods that hackers utilize. The most common way a computer is infected with a virus is by the computer’s user downloading and installing a free program from the internet.

Free computer programs are commonly laced with computer viruses that are installed simultaneously with the programs, unknown to the computer user. It’s great that some computer programs are free. However, it should be kept in mind that websites, where free programs are downloaded from, are commonly hosted by criminals. Therefore, great care should be taken when determining which websites are safe.

Social engineering is a method by which criminals manipulate computer users into giving up personal or private information as a way of gaining access to computers. An understanding of social engineering is important but cannot be gained by reading a summary of it. Research on “social engineering” should be done to gain a deeper understanding of it; the internet can provide a lot of information about it.

Phishing attacks occur when a criminal creates an impostor website that would normally be trusted, including but not limited to banking websites. Furthermore, computer users are solicited to update personal information at their financial institution’s website and are directed to an impostor version of that website.

Once the impostor website is accessed, the computer user unknowingly gives their personal information over to a criminal. The result can be identity theft or theft of financial resources. Again, understanding the intricacies of phishing attacks cannot be gained by reading a summary of it. Research on “phishing attacks” should be done in order to gain a deeper understanding.

Don’t be complacent. Please contact us so that we may serve to help mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of computer criminals.

 

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