I was most excited last week when I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Richard Blech, the CEO of Secure Channels which is a group that works with businesses and individuals to increase their safety online. After having the conversation however, I must say that I left the meeting far less excited, and significantly more paranoid than ever before. Cybercrime is big money and given that many areas of the internet are relatively un-policed, we are in a situation whereby just about anyone could have their personal information stolen from their devices. There are many ways in which cyber criminals can obtain your personal details and these are what you should be looking out for.
Downloading things from the internet to your computer is the perfect opportunity for criminals to gain access to not only your computer, but also any other devices which is using the same network. They call these Trojan Horse attacks and they are basically where someone plants a virus in a downloadable file, disguised as something else, which then can give them remote access to your computer.
You may have seen the odd phishing scam in your email inbox and whilst they may not appear malicious, they very much are. Phishing scams often will look like an email from your bank asking you to confirm some details and requesting that you click on the attachment. Unfortunately, in clicking the attachment you sendup becoming extremely vulnerable and you could give access of your computer to a criminal.
The way in which email scams work show just how brazen the cybercriminals are. The reason for this is because it actually requires input from yourself. The way it works is that you will receive an email from, let’s say PayPal. The email will look professional and give you no reason to doubt its genuineness. The email will probably say that you must update your username and password for security reasons, and it will take you to a portal which will ask for your current password and username, and then your new password. What is actually happening here is that you are not changing your password, but instead giving out your username and password to a criminal. Most companies now have services which you can send these emails to, in order to check whether or not they are genuine.
Pop Ups are incredibly annoying and very often we click frantically in an effort to close them. Criminals know this and this is why they use them, it only takes a click or two on one of these pop ups and hey presto you have just given access to your computer to someone on the other side of the world, who cannot what to start trawling through your personal data.
In most cases these scams rely on you being connected to the internet so if you are worried then disconnect. You should always have strong anti-virus software and the best way to avoid these scams are to be informed.