If you’ve been following the news lately you have heard that warnings have been issued concerning Russian hackers’ coordinated attacks on US data. The latest activities are not directed at the CIA or NSA or FBI… they are directed at people just like you. By intercepting the data from your router, for instance, a hacker has access to literally everything you’ve done on your home PC or other device. What can you do to protect your family data? This article has a few pointers.
- Check for updates and advice from the router manufacturer! Start with your Wi-Fi provider.
- Continue to follow these rules, which you hopefully implemented at your house long ago:
- a. No one downloads software without you knowing (for instance, many free games seem fine, but in fact are cover for companies wanting access to your computer)
- b. When opening an email, NEVER click on a link unless:
- i. You know the person who is sending you the email AND after looking at the actual email address, you recognize it (a hacker will copy your friend’s name, but the email address will now be different if you look at it).
- ii. The email sounds like the person you know. If it just says “Hey Carole you should check this out” with a link and nothing more? I don’t check it out! When in doubt, even if the email is from my friend (people’s emails can be hijacked as well) I will email the sender and ask what he or she sent me. Nine out of ten times I have done this, the real sender didn’t even know her email had been hacked and was able to send a follow-up email out to tell her email contact list not to open the email.
- iii. So called “phishing scams” don’t end there – NEVER open a link that wants you to update account information or otherwise. Phishers copy logos at will, and frequently make the email look like an urgent matter to get your attention. But Apple and US Bank and the IRS and the other large companies that you do business with will NEVER request by email that you enter personal information (if an account has been compromised, you will likely be contacted with a phone number to call.) Beware of misspellings and bad grammar in fake emails from Apple and others, and delete those immediately. Don’t be fooled by the logo and artwork, look carefully.
c. In apps and on websites when you open an account – when possible select the most strict privacy settings.
d. Use antivirus protection. Beware of the free versions, buy protection from a reputable company.
e. Be VERY careful with online purchases! Only buy from verified websites, and consider using PayPal or another third party service instead of your actual credit card.
The more connected we all are, and the more time we spend on line, the greater the risks and the more care that we must pay to each keystroke….