7 Tips to Protect Yourself from Cyber Fraud and Phishing Attacks

 
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Although it saves time, the ease of managing our money online can come with a price: an increased risk of “phishing attacks” by online fraudsters trying to get confidential information by posing as a legitimate source (SCARY!). 

Phishing attempts are becoming harder to detect for crimes like identity theft and financial fraud. According to Accenture’s 2017 Canada Cybercrime Survey, one-third of Canadians have fallen victim to scams resulting in malicious software on their computer, disclosure of personal information and loss of money. Don’t let this be you! 

These fraudsters can be super sneaky, but we can help. Here are our 7 top tips to protect yourself from cyber fraud and phishing attacks:

  1. Change your email password regularly

    Email interactions sometimes leave enough information behind for an email hacker to use to compromise an account. Make sure you change your password regularly—ideally at least twice a year.

  2. Secure computing

    Consider accessing your sensitive online services (e.g. finances) only from dedicated secure devices, such as a work computer or a smartphone and in secure locations, not while using public WiFi. Family computers with many users can be easy targets for today’s easy-to-infect malware.

  3. Sign up for alerts

    Many credit unions offer security alerts. Members receive an alert via text or email about any activity relating to risky transactions such as an e-transfer.

  4. Activate 2-step security

    Many online services offer stronger authentication security. Consider turning these optional features on in your more sensitive online accounts. These might be called “2-Step Security” or “2nd Factor Authentication” or “2-Step Verification” or “2FA”.

  5. Vacation alerts

    Let your financial institution know when you’ll be travelling to ensure your financial services are not delayed while enjoying your vacation. Your account can be better protected against unauthorized access this way.

  6. Stay secure

    Ensure your computer has an up to date malware scanner with real-time monitoring and removal capabilities.

  7. Activate 2-step security

    Many online services offer stronger authentication security. Consider turning these optional features on in your more sensitive online accounts. These might be called “2-Step Security” or “2nd Factor Authentication” or “2-Step Verification.”

What is Malware? 

Malware is short for malicious software. The three phases in a malware attack most commonly used in online banking fraud are infection, data collection and monetization. In phase one, a computer or mobile device becomes infected with malicious software, usually found via a link sent through an email or contained in a website.

Once infected, the malware can look for and record information from an infected computer or mobile device. The recorded information is than transmitted back to a command and control server or network. 

The attacker will try to use the information taken from the user’s computer or mobile device. For example, they may sell personal information to commit identity theft or they may continue to control an individual’s computer and use confidential information for fraudulent activity.

For more information on how you can protect yourself against cyber fraud, check out our website! Stay safe out there and when in doubt, ask us for help!


 

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