The greater internet access is available, the greater the risk of your personal information being stolen. Here are the 5 most common threats to your internet security.
By: Pearlie Davis
In an era where everyone conducts business and personal online emails and transactions on the fly, we have to be vigilant in protecting our secure, personal information from hackers and looky-loos.
After all, the greater internet access is available; the greater the risk of your personal information being stolen—which includes sensitive information like banking passwords, credit card numbers, and so forth.
For instance, even though you might make a bank deposit, withdrawal, account transfer, balance inquiry, or scan a checks and send it via email from a secure server at home or at the office, doesn’t mean you should do the same from an open, public wi-fi café hot spot—especially when you consider the risks, such as device loss, phishing, malware/viruses, spyware programs, and even financial fraud.
Be vigilant of the following financial security threats when using a public wi-fi connection:
1. Stolen devices
It’s pretty easy to lose track of your smart phone, tablet, or laptop in a public place. Come on, you don’t always have your eyes on your mobile device, do you? However, considering that you keep very personal information on that same device, how protected would you feel if your device happened to be stolen? To prevent the double whammy of a stolen device and a cleared bank account, set your phone, laptop or tablet to automatically lock when it’s not in use, and use a strong password to unlock it.
Phishing is basically a term for a fake application. It’s delivered to you via a malicious third party in an email or SMS text message that looks innocent enough, but can actually result in you installing a software or virus that will comb through your computer’s sensitive data to find out your email, credit card, and banking passwords. To prevent becoming the victim of phishing, be sure to check the credibility of all online requests that you receive—that includes direction to unknown websites and clicking on unknown links.
The online terror known as malware is similar to phishing in that it narrows in on your private banking information by invading your mobile devices unknowingly via a software installation or auto-run application. Perpetrators of malware are hoping to get remote access to your device, and in turn your personal banking information, credit card numbers, and email usernames and passwords.
Malicious spyware programs collect specific bits of information—specifically email and bank account usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, and online shopping profiles—and attack when you make mobile payments via your smart phone. So ensure you do so from a secure connection.
5. Online fraud
Often appearing in your inbox via what appears to be an official email from your bank or credit card company, online fraudsters are trying to bait you into giving away personal information. For instance, they’ll alert you to a breach in your bank account or credit card account and ask you to click a link back to a fraudulent website so they can remotely access your device and record your keystrokes. Keep in mind that banks will almost never send an email to account holders, and don’t click on any links you’re uncertain of.
About the Author:
Pearlie Davis is a staff writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone news, commentary, and reviews on popular mobile devices and industry news.