Over the years there has been an increasing number of fraud and cybersecurity scams taking place. We finally have some good news. In August, U.S. authorities, along with officials from several other countries, were able to dismantle a notorious financial crime platform known as “Qakbot”. Qakbot is a malware platform that was used by a multitude of cybercriminals and had infected more than 700,000 victims’ computers. These victims ranged anywhere from everyday people like us to financial institutions and even medical device manufacturers.
This is a big win for everyone, as cybersecurity is becoming increasingly relevant in our lives. However, staying diligent when receiving emails, texts, or phone calls from unknown senders is still necessary. Some best practices to stay cyber safe are listed out below. This is an ever-changing world and cybersecurity will continue to be prevalent in our lives. Proceeding with an abundance of caution and asking for help or a second opinion is always best.
- Think before you click – Here are some questions to consider when reviewing links or messages.
- Is this a valid email or text that I was expecting to receive? Some cybercrimes are just as simple as sending a fake email with a link attempting to gain access to your personal information.
- Does the email address or number match the company that I am expecting to reach out to me? If you are expecting an email or text from a company does the email address or phone number match their website?
- What kind of information are they asking for? Most cybercrimes want to obtain personal information such as credit card numbers, date of birth, social security numbers, etc.
- Does this feel wrong or off in any way? Our gut feeling is usually subconscious and a result of skepticism or caution and shouldn’t be brushed aside.
- Use Strong passwords – This is very important. Almost no company will ask you for your password when reaching out to you.These passwords are meant to protect you and not to be shared with others. Using multiple passwords is also advisable so that one password being discovered does not allow access to all your information and logins.
- Turn on multifactor authentication – This is something that is becoming more available and being used by more widely by companies as a method for identity verification. This can be as simple as a text message or email to you containing a code to login. It is highly recommended to use this step in order to protect your information.
- Updating your software – Keeping your devices up to date is important, as companies will add new security features in each update. This will keep your devices at the forefront of any security updates to keep you as secure as possible.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office recently published a short video with some possible phone scam warning signs.