Now more than ever, everyone needs to be vigilant regarding cyber-crime. The middle of a pandemic may not seem like the time to be thinking about criminals trying to hack into your computer. But cyber-crime is on the rise, thanks in part to so many people using online services for work, school, and socializing.
While you should never let your guard down, there are some things you can do to help safeguard your computer, mobile phone, & tablets from criminals:
- Keep your computer, antivirus, and anti-malware software up to date – You’ll get security patches and updates each time you download the newest version of your computer and antivirus software, including the operating system and programs
- Examine email addresses & website URLs – Scammers often mimic legitimate websites and email addresses by using a slight variation in spelling
- Check, then follow unsolicited links – If you receive an unsolicited email, text message, or phone call asking you to update, check, or verify your account information, don’t use the link until you’ve verified it’s real
- Don’t open attachments – Be especially careful of attachments, especially those in emails you weren’t expecting
- Careful with requests for money – Scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or transfer of funds
- Watch out for urgent requests – Be extra suspicious of any message that urges your “immediate action”
- Use multi-factor authentication – It adds another layer of protection for your security, especially when a hacker guesses your password
- Update passwords often – Make them unique and not something easily guessed
- Shred your paperwork – We often think cyber-crime is only online, but hackers are just as interested in the financial or personal information on bills, forms, and other paperwork
October is National Cyber-Security Awareness month, a time to focus on how you can protect yourself from falling victim to a cyber-criminal. You can learn more about ways to protect yourself, understanding common crimes and risks, and how important it is to report cyber-crime when it happens to you at the FBI’s Cyber-Crime webpage.