While computers and the Internet offer huge benefits, they also offer cyber criminals opportunities to steal personal information. Cyber crooks have shown they can keep up with the fast-paced growth of technology. They constantly develop new tools and methods to trick and exploit people through computer and Internet use. The more aware you are of cyber threats, the more prepared you will be to avoid them.
“Malware” is a broad term for the many forms of malicious software designed to disrupt, harm, or hijack a computer system or data. It includes viruses and spyware. Secretly installed without your knowledge or consent, malware programs can damage your privacy and the security of your computer or mobile device. They can capture your personal information in variety of ways and secretly send it to identity thieves.
Computers and mobile devices are commonly infected with malware through email attachments, downloads, and the links within emails, instant messages, or pop-up windows.
Warning signs of a malware include:
Decreased battery life, interrupted or dropped calls, and crashing apps on mobile devices are also warning signs of a malware infection.
"Adware" (short for advertising-supported software) is software that displays digital ads. When it collects personal information and sends it on to third parties without your permission, it’s regarded as malware.
Malware can be hard to remove. If you suspect it:
Be aware of other Internet threats that can endanger your personal information and identity.
PHISHING: This is when cyber thieves send you emails that try to lure you into providing or confirming personal information. The emails look like they’re from legitimate organizations, often ones you know. They ordinarily use threats, warnings, or enticements to create a sense of urgency. You’re usually asked to click on a link. If you do, it can lead to a spoof website. The site looks real enough to trick you into entering personal information.
SIGNS OF PHISHING EMAILS
SPEAR PHISHING: This form of phishing targets individuals or companies. The emails appear to be from an entity you know because spear phishers use information they already have about you to create more personalized, real-looking emails.
POP-UP WINDOW PHISHING: This is when thieves use pop-up windows or ads to tempt you to use fraudulent links or phone numbers.
SMISHING & VISHING: Very similar to phishing, this is when criminals use automated dialing systems to call or text you with messages intended to trick you into sharing personal information. The message will direct you to a phone number or website that asks you for the information.
AVOID PHISHING, SMISHING, & VISHING