Thinking of recycling an old cell phone in honor of Earth Day? Before you do, you’ll want to delete any personal information stored on the device. That way, your emails, text messages, contacts, photos, and other personal information won’t fall into the wrong hands.
The FTC and HTC America announced a settlement recently that requires the company to fix security flaws in their smart phones and tablets that put users’ sensitive information at risk. If you’re wondering whether your device was affected, you’ll be relieved to know there’s a new webpage for HTC users that lists affected HTC devices and the status of updates, along with a toll-free number for information (866-449-8358) that is staffed from 8 am to 1 am EST.
Every day, you hear about scammers, hackers, and thieves using the internet to steal money and financial information from people. Just as we do things to make it tough for bad guys to break into our homes and our cars, we can make it tougher for them to break into our computers, too.You can take simple steps — like keeping your computer software up-to-date — to deter a hacker and protect your financial information.
Want some more tips? Here’s a new OnGuardOnline.gov video with steps you can take to keep your computer secure.
Exercise more. Floss daily. Remember anniversary this year. Something’s missing… computer security! Your list of resolutions isn’t complete until you add “update my security software” and “protect my passwords” to the mix. Don’t worry, it’s not time consuming. Protecting yourself from scammers, hackers, and identity thieves is definitely something you’ll want to do this year.
Small businesses are more dependent on the Internet than ever before, but 83 percent don’t have a formal cybersecurity plan to protect against cyber threats. As larger companies improve cyber defenses, American small businesses are now more vulnerable targets. According to Symantec, they were subject to hundreds of millions of cyber threats in just the first few months of 2012. A typical cyber-attack can cost a business, on average, close to $200,000 — enough to put many of them out of business.
The charges outlined in the FTC’s recent lawsuits against one software business and seven rent-to-own companies are surprising — some might even say creepy. These companies installed software on rented computers that gave them the ability to hit the “kill switch” if people were behind on their payments. But according to the FTC, it also let them collect sensitive personal information, grab screen shots, and take webcam photos of people in their homes.
Earlier this week, we wrote about a recent twist in so-called scareware schemes, where scammers send alarming messages to try to convince you that your computer is infected with viruses or other malware. Then, they try to sell you software to fix the problem. At best, the software is worthless or available elsewhere for free. At worst, it could be malware — software designed to give criminals access to your computer and your personal information.