Have you been hacked? Cyber security has turned into a big business today, and rightly so because there are sophisticated people trying to hack your computers and electronic devices for your hard-earned money.

Have you been hacked? - Cyber SecurityAccording to the FBI, in 2020, there were 792,000 cybercrime complaints in the U.S. alone—a 69% increase over 2019. Losses from those frauds totaled $4.2 billion.

What you need to know to mitigate your risk.

Cyber Security

In our home office, our cyber security admin system has seen over 9,000 attempts to penetrate our home network in August 2021, suggesting there are a lot of Robo systems working for the bad guys and a lot of talent in building these systems. Fortunately, we haven’t had a breach – Yet!

Email – The cyber security firm of Valimail advised that we “think before we click”. A wrong click could expose your lifetime of wealth building to the bad guys. If you do not recognize the email address the operative word is “Caution”.

Study the email address as it can differ by a single character from an account you know. These results appeared in our own account with Bank of America and other businesses. Yikes!

Beyond Email

Beyond email, be aware of other forms of attack—including fraudulent SMS texts (a.k.a. “smishing”), voice calls (“vishing”), and “spear phishing,” or the practice of mining social media posts for personal information to create more targeted and potentially convincing emails.

What can we do? Step up our security with security alerts with your financial companies by using two-factor authentication or voice identification. A pain – Yes, but it can save you a bundle.

Security software is also available. Microsoft 365 has a robust free version and some Broadcom companies like Cox have free service for their internet subscribers using McAffee. That’s what we are using along with Malwarebytes Cybersecurity for Home and Business a free and premium subscriber-based software. There are lots of programs available so do your homework and get something that meets your needs.

Passwords – never share and change them on a regular basis. Don’t use the same password for all your accounts. There are password managers available that make this easy. We use a free version called LastPass and they have a premium service available. There are others available so get one that you will use that mitigates your risk.

Update Your Systems

Keep your CPU and Mobile systems up to date. These updates often plug holes in the operating systems allowing the bad guys access to your personal data and accounts. 

Talk with your children and elderly relatives as they can be more vulnerable to scammers trying to form an emotional attachment online and sometimes over the phone. We’ve received a bunch of calls on our phone that are suspicious that require caution.

Consumer Fraud Alerts are available from the Federal Trade Commission. Perform a Free Credit Check each, and every year.

Consider requesting a “credit freeze” with each of the three agencies, which can prevent new accounts that require a credit check from being opened in your name without your express permission. These agencies include Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Photo Credit: U.S. Government Accountability Office Created 22 April 2015


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