Understanding and Preventing It
Cybercrime has become a fact of life in the digital world. The threat is incredibly serious – and growing. Cyber-intrusions are becoming more prevalent, more expensive, and far more sophisticated. Identity thieves are attacking average citizens, and online predators are stalking our children.
To prevent it- the first line of defense is YOU!
I spent twenty-nine years in the FBI; the last fourteen of them investigating cybercrime. After dealing with thousands of cases, from mom & pop shop-sized cybertheft, to church cybercrime, to Fortune 500 data breaches- I know the common thread that makes cybercriminals get what they want. In my book, The Secret to CyberSecurity: A Simple Plan to Protect Your Family and Business from Cybercrime, I talk about all of these, and them some. But I also give you some tips on how YOU can beat the bad guys in preventing cybercrime from happening to you.
How to Avoid Being a Victim
- Become a human firewall and examine every email you receive. Realize that bad guys want to use your email account as a weapon.
- Understand that bad guys desperately want you to click a link or open an attachment in an email. Unless you have thoroughly validated its authenticity, don’t click on it!
- Look at the time an email was sent. If it was sent at 2:30 A.M. and you know that person never sends emails that late, don’t open it before verifying it.
- Check the other recipients of the email. If the email was sent to a large group of people, it usually means the account was compromised and an automated program sent the message.
- If you receive an email with an urgent message from your bank, credit card company, utility company, FedEx, UPS, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any other financial institution or social media application, don’t open it or click on a link! Log in to the actual account manually through a browser or application to check if there’s a legitimate issue.
- Make a list of important telephone numbers, such as your bank and credit card companies, and call the numbers you have instead of the ones included in suspicious emails.
- If you receive an email containing a friend request from social media, do not click on the link in the message to log in to the account. Bad guys love to use social media friend requests to target victims. For example, if you receive a connection request from LinkedIn, delete the email and then log in to the actual LinkedIn application to see if it’s a legitimate request.
- This is very important: Do not store your usernames and passwords for financial institutions, credit card companies, utilities, email, and social media on OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud. Write them down on a sheet of paper and store the physical copy somewhere safe. Your safety is far more important than digital access to passwords.
It may seem like common sense, but doing these small steps can dramatically affect your chances of becoming the next victim. Afterall, 90% of all cybercrime cases could have been prevented. Don’t become a statistic and remember these tips the next time you’re online. Happy cyber-surfing!