Warning: Virus, Malware, Spyware, Worm

Hacks Happen! Facing a New Era of Cyber-crime

While the ever-growing presence and sophistication of cyber-crimes are on the rise, as Consumers we need to stay vigilant and be aware of the risks that are lurking. We need to recognize that we are facing a whole new era of cyber-crime. This is where the rub comes in. There are so many variables to consider with security being a goal. One factor is the time factor. What really has changed over time? Was the change in design, did changes emerge by use and needs in the world of business? And can we get ahead of the next security breach? Another factor to consider are the Users, not only are we dealing with different personalities in addition consider the generational differences. We have all heard of someone’s Grandma seeking help from a Fifth Grader.

With the many different variables in mind, the solution to the problem is for us to be watchful, attentive and heed the warnings. Here are five tips to help you to make it more difficult for your information to be hacked:
1) Change your passwords. If you do any kind of business online with any kind of company, change your passwords. This goes for any account that’s associated with your email address which may include websites like Amazon where you shop and of course, online banking. I like this quote by Clifford Stoll which summarizes it well: “Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anybody else use it and every six months get a new one!”

2) If your PII (Personally Identifiable Information) has gotten into the wrong hands, be sure to contact all your credit card companies and bank accounts and request that they send you a new account number. And remember to give the new number to any companies that you have set up with automatics payments. The KBA (Knowledge Base Authentication) allows them to file tax returns, open student loans or bank accounts.

3) Freeze all credit files for EVERYONE in your household, especially children. Children are now the #1 target! Go to the WA State Attorney General’s office for instructions on how-to place a freeze and how to remove a freeze: https://www.atg.wa.gov/security-freeze-procedures

4) ) Place a fraud alert. A fraud alert requires your creditors to take an extra step to verify your identity before opening a new account or before increasing the credit limit on an existing account. Fraud Alerts are free and when you set an alert at one credit agency, they automatically alert the other two agencies.

5) Take a short quiz (only 8 questions) to see how much you know about identity theft: Is Your Identity Up for Grabs? https://aarplocal.polldaddy.com/s/digital-id

Remember that the Thieves don’t have a conscious about their crime. They don’t care who the Victims are, they just want to pull enough information of whomever to get some money. The Bad Guys justify their actions by saying that they are ripping off someone BIG, a corporation, financial institution or store. For help if you have been an ID theft victim, go to: https://www.identitytheft.gov/ To get more information about protecting yourself go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website at: https://www.ftc.gov/ To get local help to set up firewalls and reduce your risk from threats against your network, we are here to help you have digital success and become cyber-smart: www.itsoft.com

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