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.
The Federal Trade Commission cracked down on a massive international scam that tricked tens of thousands of computer users into believing their computers were riddled with malware and then paying the scammers hundreds of dollars to “fix” the problem.
Today, we are more linked, networked, and wired than ever before. Not only do we use the internet to stay connected, informed, and involved, we use it for many routine tasks, like submitting taxes, applying for student loans, and even powering our homes.
Been reading up on Apple’s newly unveiled iPhone 5? So have scammers.
For months leading up to the announcement, scammers have already been finding ways to cash in on iPhone 5 buzz — through phishing emails promising sneak peeks if you just clicked on a link, or phony texts offering a chance to get your hands on one. According to news reports, clicking the links installed malware on your computer, or took you to a phony site asking for your personal information.
Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, FTC
Are you in the mobile app business? If so, you’re probably considering some important questions, like what to tell users about your app, what information to collect from users, and what to do with any information you collect.