Cyber criminals continue to come up with new ways to gain access to your electronic devices and, in turn, your most personal data. According to Komando.com, numerous new hacking techniques have emerged in just the past few months that exploit small flaws in routers, browsers and Wi-Fi security. SureCloud recently published a report on how password auto-saving features of internet browsers and unsecured home routers can put you at risk. It’s important to stay up-to-date on cyber secuity issues to better understand and reduce Wi-Fi risk.
“By renaming a malicious Wi-Fi access point to impersonate yours, a hacker then waits until your gadget connects to the fake router under his/her control, hoping that you won’t notice the difference. Once connected, the hacker can then have full control,” Komando reports.
Home Wi-Fi routers aren’t the only systems that are vulnerable. Few public Wi-Fi services have secure routers, even in locations where you might expect high security.
Cloud security company Coronet released a report in July that studied Wi-Fi security in America’s 45 busiest airports. According to the report, to maximize traveler convenience, most airports provide free or low-cost Wi-Fi. Regrettably, Wi-Fi security is often sacrificed in exchange for simplicity, leaving networks unencrypted, unsecured or improperly configured.
“Until such time when airports take responsibility and improve their cyber-security posture, the accountability is on each individual flyer to be aware of the risks and take the appropriate steps to minimize the danger,” stresses Dror Liwer, Coronet’s chief information systems officer. This advice applies to users of any public or unsecured Wi-Fi.
“Most of the time, individuals find themselves hastily connecting to public Wi-Fi networks to save themselves from overage charges on their phone bills,” wrote Justin Dolly, Malwarebytes chief security officer, in an opinion piece at CSO.com. “Investing in an unlimited data plan will not only eliminate your need for accessing insecure Wi-Fi networks, it will also often allow you to use your mobile device to create a personal internet hotspot.”
A personal hotspot creates an encrypted wireless network, which prevents people on devices near you from accessing your network without a password.
If you’ve used public Wi-Fi, SureCloud recommends that you clear your browser’s saved passwords and don’t save credentials for unsecured HTTP pages. Also delete saved open-networks and don’t allow automatic reconnection.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
In this digital age, privacy requires extra effort for each of us.
Hackers use a number of ways to get into electronic devices (laptops, smart phones, tablets). The most common type of cyber crime is the phishing scam, which can arrive in the form of an email or text and contains a link. These messages are often realistic-looking, use fraudulent websites and appear to be sent from a friend or trusted sender (such as a bank or social network), so you’ll feel safe to click on the link. Yet, clicking on these links loads software onto your device, which gives hackers access to install any number of other programs that allow them to spy on you and steal your data.
Installing security software on all your electronic devices is a critical first step in beating cyber crime. In addition, it’s important to understand how phishing scams work and what they look like when they land in your inbox.
Some of the sites spoofed most regularly include PayPal, eBay, Yahoo! and MSN, as well as financial institutions. Any legitimate site can be spoofed; and hackers also create fake websites, emails and text for cartoon gaming, celebrities and other popular children’s sites as a way to get private information. So be sure to educate the children in your life about the risks, as well.
Norton, a leader in antivirus and security software, offers the following information and recommendations:
- Be wary of emails or texts asking for confidential information – especially information of a financial nature. Legitimate organizations will never request sensitive information via email, and most banks will tell you that they won’t ask for your information unless you’re the one contacting them.
- Don’t get pressured into providing sensitive information. Phishers like to use scare tactics, and may threaten to disable an account or delay services until you update certain information.
- Never submit confidential information via forms embedded within email messages. Senders are often able to track all information entered.
The best advice is to always call the vendor or financial institution directly, using a phone number that you have verified, before disclosing any information. You are your best defense against cyber crime.