Tis the season for lots of emails sharing news of sales, specials and fantastic deals. But are they all on the up-and-up? It’s easy to overlook phishing emails, and possible you might accidently click on a link that could cause trouble. If you’re suspicious – good! A healthy dose of distrust can be healthy, especially when dealing with emails and texts you’re just not sure about.
What exactly is phishing?
Email phishing tricks readers into clicking on links that either download malicious software to their computer, or capture user names, passwords and other personal information to illegally access personal or financial accounts.
Kristy CooperHow to tell if you’re a victim of a phishing scam (and what to do)
Stolen passwords, illegal hacks, election fraud – this may sound like a crime drama, but what we’re really talking about here is a short list of Facebook’s recent troubles. With more than 2.23 billion monthly active Facebook users around the world, even if you’re not using Facebook it’s very likely that someone in your home or part of your family is. And the troubles that Facebook has been going through highlight the importance of protecting your information no matter what you do online.
Kristy CooperHow Facebook’s recent hacks affect us all
Breaking news about hacking attacks and network breaches just keep rolling in – Equifax, Yahoo!, MyFitnessPal, the list goes on. We’ve become accustomed to seeing these breaches in the news regarding large companies, but what about your own security? Obviously, this is an important issue that everyone needs to address, and a great place to start is by taking a good look at your own password behaviors.
A recent research project called The Psychology of Passwords paints a scary picture showing that the main cause of network breaches and hacked accounts is, to put it bluntly, due to consumer disinterest in creating and maintaining safe password habits.
Summer is a great time to get away, but empty homes can be a magnet for thieves and trouble. Studies show that burglaries happen more often in the summer than in the winter, a number that makes sense considering windows or doors often left open to let in the warm breezes and fresh air and homes left empty for days or weeks as homeowners enjoy their vacations.
New technologies that only require the use of devices with internet access in the home that communicate with smart phones are making a big difference, though, by alerting homeowners to potential problems as they occur or even stopping them before damage is done.
Check out these ideas you can integrate into your own home.
Kristy CooperWhat do I need to protect my home while I’m away?
Ignoring emails from financiers in Kenya promising shipments of gold is pretty easy. But when an email arrives from a business you work with, a close friend, or colleague asking you to click on a link about your job, your account, or this weekend’s party, what do you do? Over the years, phishing emails have matured from obvious, laughable scams to sophisticated emails that cleverly conceal their deception while seeming to come from trusted sources. And no matter how smart or savvy we get about them, they just keep on coming. In fact, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), phishing attacks in 2016 shattered all previous years’ records with a 65% increase from 2015 and a 5,753% increase over the past 12 years.
Phishing scams work by tricking you into clicking on a link or attachment that can infect your computer or take you to a website that looks real, but isn’t, and can steal your private information. According to the APWG, 100,000 new phishing attacks get reported every month, and thousands of people fall for them.
Kristy CooperUnderstanding email phishing & how to outsmart it
A few weeks ago, legislation was signed into law that made changes to internet privacy. The new law may allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell customer internet use data. Prior to this legislation being signed, the law required that ISPs transparently disclose private data collection and sales, prohibiting them from selling customer data to 3rd parties, and requiring that ISP consumers opt in to the collection of their private financial or browsing history data.
According to DSLReports, the vote to dismantle the rules is seen as a massive win for giant ISPs; especially as those like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast now realize new massive advertising income potential by selling their customer’s private internet use data.
The internet has drastically changed the way that people of every age interact with the world around them. Children now have a wealth of educational and social opportunities at their fingertips. Adults can work, shop, and connect with friends and family members all over the world. There are truly many wonders online, but there are also a vast number of dangers and pitfalls that lie in wait as well.
Even in homes where basic internet safety is practiced, there are still dangers that literally pop up online, even when doing “normal” activities such as reading emails, checking social media, or doing homework. For instance, 70% of kids ages 8-18 report accidentally encountering online pornography, very often when entering an innocent search term while doing homework. Personal crimes such as stalking or cyber bullying are growing at alarming rates. And cyber crimes including phishing emails and other internet scams cost Americans $800 million last year. In fact, According to Verizon’s “2016 Data Breach Investigations Report,” 30 percent of phishing emails are actually opened, and 12 percent of those targeted click on the infecting link or attachment.
Kristy CooperHow to keep your family safe on the internet
While the internet has opened the world to us, unfortunately it’s also opened us to the world. Attempts to gain unauthorized access to online accounts and computers have become an almost daily occurrence, and it’s become important for even the most casual of internet users to learn how to protect themselves.
From banking accounts to emails to social media, it’s important to be vigilant. While you may not always know exactly how you’ve been hacked, you can keep an eye out for common signs of trouble, and be ready to take action with a few quick strategies for countering and protecting yourself online.
Kristy CooperSigns you may have been hacked – and what to do next
A quick heads-up for our customers about an alarming trend we’ve seen recently. Hackers are continuing to target our customers with fraudulent emails which purport to be from Softcom in an attempt to get your account information. The most recent attempt came through as a clickable image which redirected you to a fraudulent web site which asks you to input your email address and password.
As a reminder, we’ll NEVER ask you for your account information in this manner.
Kristy CooperBe aware of scam emails pretending to be from Softcom
We believe that everyone deserves fast, reliable internet service no matter where they live or work. Softcom brings the experience, infrastructure, and technology to stand behind our vision. And we’re laser-focused on giving our customers the fast connections, exceptional customer service, and simple, affordable pricing they deserve.