Top 10 Tricks Cyber Ghouls Hope You Fall For

Hackers Offer No Treats, Only Tricks…

As we inch closer and closer to the holiday season, hackers are becoming more and more aware of ways to exploit users.  Below are the top 10 ways cyber criminals are capitalizing on user behavior:

  • Unsecured WiFi connections, what’s the harm? By using public WiFi, or any other form of unsecured connections, users are setting themselves up for a potential security hack.  All of the information disclosed during that unsecured connection is easily intercepted.  Meaning, every login credential typed in, ever email written, every credit card number entered — could all be exploited.
  • Are you practicing proper password maintenance? This includes using the same password for multiple login credentials or using the same password that you’ve had since 2005.  You should be changing your passwords every three months.  Sounds time-consuming, we know.  But so are disputing fraud charges.  Be proactive.
  • Watch out for fake tracking emails.  Hackers know users are insanely click-happy.  Especially with the increased buying season right around the corner, users will likely see an uptake in fraudulent tracking emails.  To avoid this, track your package directly through the vendor or deliver’s website.
  • Feeling generous? Hackers will also set up fake charity sites so users can “donate” funds to make someone’s holiday a little brighter.  The problem, these are scams and your money is going right into the hacker’s pocket.  BUT don’t let this jade you.  There are tons of legitimate causes out there, just make sure you’re donating to a real one!
  • How could you be so lucky?! Well, you probably aren’t.  If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is, and the hacker is just using it as click bait.  But, don’t just take my word for it.  Instead, go to the seller’s website and see if they are really offering that price/offer/bundle etc.  Do NOT click on the links in the email, as they could be malicious.
  • Just leaving doors wide open! Please STOP doing this!!! This means users are leaving known vulnerabilities unpatched, which is done by not keeping operating systems or third-party applications updated.  We get it.  Updating a program in the middle of a project can be a pain, but then do it during your next break, or at the end of the day.  Instead, users keep hitting the “Remind me Later” option and ignore the notification completely.  User laziness is the hackers silver bullet.
  • Don’t forget to lock the back door.  This includes remote access ports.  Cyber criminals have begun exploiting this vulnerability, by using brute force to penetrate networks.  Had users disabled the ports, these attacks would have never happened.  Instead, companies and home users are falling victim.
  • Your device isn’t really broken.  Hackers are infecting legitimate websites with malicious code which displays a pop-up box saying the user’s device is infected and they must call Microsoft, Dell, HP, etc.  These alerts are called fake virus scams.  The device is not compromised and simply needs to be rebooted.  However, if a user does call the number, hackers will try to gain remote access to the computer to potentially install malware, as well as demand funds for “fixing” the PC.
  • If you don’t need it, delete it! If you are not using the app or program on your device, please delete/uninstall it.  Chances are, if you’re not using it, you aren’t taking the time to keep it updated, creating a security hole.  Also, if the app or program were to be compromised, you would also become a victim.
  • Please read… As mentioned previously, users are click-happy.  This means instead of reading through the terms and conditions or the end-user license agreement, they haphazardly click “I accept”, just to begin the installation process.  But does anyone really know what they’re agreeing to?  Hackers capitalize on this, so please read!!

Hopefully, you found these tips helpful.  Don’t forget to share this with friends and family, as the more users know, the less likely they are to fall victim.

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8 thoughts on “Top 10 Tricks Cyber Ghouls Hope You Fall For

  1. Very good advice. One thing I also do is disconnect my com link when I leave my machine instead of leaving it connected. It takes just a quick click to disconnect and no more than a few seconds to reconnect later. I also power off at night and do a cold start each morning. I’m paranoid.

  2. A few times with updates from Microsoft may PCMatic is disabled or doesn’t work Is seems they want me to use Window defender which I disabled because I have PC Matic. Is this a good way to go or not?
    Any help with this ? how does one know when to and when not to download updates?

    • Hi Anne, sometimes Microsoft interferes with third-party antivirus when they’re pushing out updates. Unfortunately, it’s just something to be conscious of and turn PC Matic back on after the update is put in place. It shouldn’t happen every time, but it has happened in the past.

  3. Sage advice. You might want to add don’t click on links in emails from Romania or the Netherlands or anywhere that looks even remotely suspicious. Also look for obvious typos or grammar errors in emails. Yup, all the schooling was good for something after all!

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