PHISHING

Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to infect your machine with malware and viruses in order to collect personal and financial information. Cybercriminals attempt to lure users to click on a link or open an attachment that infects their computers, creating vulnerability to attacks. Phishing emails may appear to come from a real financial institution, e-commerce site, government agency, or any other service, business, or individual. The email may also request personal information such as account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers. When users respond with the information or click on a link, attackers use it to access users’ accounts.
HOW CRIMINALS LURE YOU IN
The following messages from the Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuardOnline are examples of what attackers may email or text when phishing for sensitive information:
• “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below, and confirm your identity.”
• “During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
• “Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”
• To see examples of actual phishing emails, and steps to take if you believe you received a phishing email, please visit “
SIMPLE TIPS:
• Play hard to get with strangers. Links in email and online posts are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate—do not respond, and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. Be cautious of generic greetings such as “Hello Bank Customer,” as these are often signs of phishing attempts. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of an email, call the company directly.
• Think before you act. Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately. Many phishing emails attempt to create a sense of urgency, causing the recipient to fear their account or information is in jeopardy. If you receive a suspicious email that appears to be from someone you know, reach out to that person directly on a separate secure platform. If the email comes from an organization but still looks “phishy,” reach out to them via customer service to verify the communication.
• Protect your personal information. If people contacting you have key details from your life—your job title, multiple email addresses, full name, and more that you may have published online somewhere—they can attempt a direct spear-phishing attack on you. Cyber criminals can also use social engineering with these details to try to manipulate you into skipping normal security protocols.
• Be wary of hyperlinks. Avoid clicking on hyperlinks in emails and hover over links to verify authenticity. Also ensure that URLs begin with “https.” The “s” indicates encryption is enabled to protect users’ information.
• Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring. Read the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) How-to-Guide for more information.
• Shake up your password protocol. According to NIST guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. Read the Creating a Password Tip Sheet for more information.
• Install and update anti-virus software. Make sure all of your computers, Internet of Things devices, phones, and tablets are equipped with regularly updated antivirus software, firewalls, email filters, and anti-spyware.

 

ONLINE  PRIVACY

The Internet touches almost all aspects of our daily lives. We are able to shop, bank, connect with family and friends, and handle our medical records all online. These activities require you to provide personally identifiable information (PII) such as your name, date of birth, account numbers, passwords, and location information. #BeCyberSmart when sharing personal information online to reduce the risk of becoming a cybercrimes victim.
Did You Know?
• 45% of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach in the last five years. 1
• 70% of Americans feel that their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago2, up from 49% just two years ago.3
• 72% of Americans believe that most of what they’re doing while online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms and other companies.2
• Over half of Americans (52%) say they have decided not to use a product or service because they were worried about how much personal information was being collected about them.2
Simple Tips
• Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring. Read the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) How-to-Guide for more information.
• Shake up your password protocol. Use the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. Read the Creating a Password Tip Sheet for more information.
• Keep up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and set your security software to run regular scans.
• If You Connect IT, Protect IT. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with anti-virus software. Read the Phishing Tip Sheet for more information.

• Play hard to get with strangers. Cyber criminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate— or if the email looks “phishy,” do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. When available use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender.
• Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time. Read the Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet for more information.
• Keep tabs on your apps. Most connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
• Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot—such as at an airport, hotel, or café—be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good Internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking.

1 “RSA Data Privacy & Security Survey 2019: The Growing Data Disconnect Between Consumers and Businesses. RSA. February 6, 2019.
https://www.rsa.com/content/dam/en/misc/rsa-data-privacy-and-security-survey-2019.pdf
2Auxier, Brooke, “How Americans see digital privacy issues amid the COVID-19 outbreak.” Pew Research Center: Fact Tank. May 4, 2020.
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/05/04/how-americans-see-digital-privacy-issues-amid-the-covid-19-outbreak/
3 Smith, Aaron. “Americans and Cybersecurity.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. April 27, 2017.
https://www.pewinternet.org/2017/01/26/americans-and-cybersecurity/.
4 PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Consumer Intelligence Series: Protect.me.” PwC. 2017. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/library/consumerintelligence-
series/cybersecurity-protect-me.html.


IDENTITY THEFT AND INTERNET SCAMS

                           


Today’s technology allows us to connect around the world, to bank and shop online, and to control our televisions, homes,
and cars from our smartphones. With this added convenience comes an increased risk of identity theft and Internet scams.
#BeCyberSmart on the Internet—at home, at school, at work, on mobile devices, and on the go.


DID YOU KNOW?
• The average cost of a data breach for a US company in 2019 was $8.19 million? That's an increase of 130% since 2006!
• 7-10% of the U.S. population are victims of identity fraud each year, and 21% of those experience multiple incidents of identity fraud.

COMMON INTERNET SCAMS
As technology continues to evolve, cybercriminals will use more sophisticated techniques to exploit technology to steal your identity, personal information, and money. To protect yourself from online threats, you must know what to look for. Some of the most common Internet scams include:
• COVID-19 Scams take the form of emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.
• Imposter Scams occur when you receive an email or call from a person claiming to be a government official, family member, or friend requesting personal or financial information. For example, an imposter may contact you from the Social Security Administration informing you that your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended, in hopes you will reveal your SSN or pay to have it reactivated.
• COVID-19 Economic Payments scams target Americans’ stimulus payments. CISA urges all Americans to be on the lookout for criminal fraud related to COVID-19 economic impact payments—particularly fraud using coronavirus lures to steal personal and financial information, as well as the economic impact payments themselves—and for adversaries seeking to disrupt payment efforts.

SIMPLE TIPS
• Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging.  If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring.

• Shake Up Your Password Protocol. According to NIST guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. 
• Be up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and set your security software to run regular scans

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM ONLINE FRAUD
Stay Protected While Connected: The bottom line is that whenever you’re online, you’re vulnerable. If devices on your network are compromised for any reason, or if hackers break through an encrypted firewall, someone could be eavesdropping on you—even
in your own home on encrypted Wi-Fi.
• Practice safe web surfing wherever you are by checking for the “green lock” or padlock icon in your browser bar—this signifies a secure connection.
• When you find yourself out in the great “wild Wi-Fi West,” avoid free Internet access with no encryption.
• If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good Internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi.
• Don’t reveal personally identifiable information such as your bank account number, SSN, or date of birth to unknown sources.
• Type website URLs directly into the address bar instead of clicking on links or cutting and pasting from the email.

RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO YOU
If you discover that you have become a victim of cybercrime, immediately notify authorities to file a complaint. Keep and record all evidence of the incident and its suspected source. The list below outlines the government organizations that you can file a complaint
with if you are a victim of cybercrime.
• FTC.gov: The FTC’s free, one-stop resource, https://www.identitytheft.gov/can help you report and recover from identity theft. Report fraud to the FTC at ftc.gov/OnGuardOnline or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
• US-CERT.gov: Report computer or network vulnerabilities to US-CERT via the hotline: 1-888-282-0870 or www.us-cert.gov. Forward phishing emails or websites to US-CERT at phishing-report@us-cert.gov.
• IC3.gov: If you are a victim of online crime, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at http://www.IC3.gov.
• SSA.gov: If you believe someone is using your SSN, contact the Social Security Administration’s fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.