Friday, May 27, 2011
With school winding down, done for some college folks already, it is time to be more aware of schemes that could put you, your children or your financial well being at risk. With folks on the keyboard doing more surfing the internet and spending additional time looking at emails, advertisements and those pesky pop-ups, cyber thieves are on the prowl.
Make sure you continue to reinforce good internet surfing practices with your family. Remind everyone to be wary of emails with attachments and be cognizant that hidden links can be imbedded in messages to take advantage of "random mouse clicks". Even if you get an email from someone you know, if the message title seems strange or the message content doesn't fit the type of information you'd expect to get from them, DON'T open it. Check with your sender via another path (Facebook, Twitter, Text Message or the like) to see if they sent you something odd. The best way to prevent an attack is to just be on guard as you surf.
Change your passwords. One of the most common ways that your information can be compromised is by using a simple password that you haven't changed. A few months ago, I got an email from someone I knew asking why I was sending them some weird emails with links to some pretty racy sites. Turned out, my email account had been hacked and someone used my online address book to attack my friends and co-workers. I was pretty lucky, my friends checked with me and it had only been a couple of hours, so a simple password change and those annoying emails came to a halt. Use the recommended password strength that states using a password of at least eight (8) characters long, a combination of upper and lower case letters, one or more numbers or special characters. Never make a password a derivative of your name or a common phrase (e.g. Whoareyou?). Following these rules will prevent getting your identity exposed and you'll enjoy your summertime computing, rather than dealing with the financial woes of identity theft.
Have a Safe Great and Enjoyable Computing Summer!!