Over the past few weeks, there has been a dramatic increase in fraudulent and criminal attempts to access personal computers, e-mail logins, and financial accounts. The most recent widespread virus, called WannaCry, has received a significant amount of coverage in the news this week.
In order to protect yourself, your personal information, and your financial accounts you should, at a minimum, do the following:
Be sure your computer software has been updated to the latest version, release, and patch level provided by the vendors. This is typically Microsoft and Apple.
Be sure you have antivirus and anti-malware software installed and active on your computers. Confirm that they are updated with the latest virus signature files and continue to update automatically.
Be vigilant and suspicious when reading your e-mail messages:
- Delete messages without opening, from unknown people and companies.
- When opening an e-mail message, look at the “reply to” address and confirm that it is consistent with whom you believe to have sent it. Look carefully – frequently a criminal or hacker will deliberately misspell the “send to” domain name in such a way that it may appear legitimate.
- When you click on a link embedded in an e-mail message and it opens a page in your web browser, verify that the address displayed in your browser is one you expect.
- For example, do not just look at the web page to see if your bank or credit card company’s logo is displayed. Be sure to look at the web page address to verify that it is for the company or financial institution you intend and that the “lock” symbol is displayed, indicating that it is a secure, encrypted connection.
- Most important, do not open attachment files from senders you do not know. Be particularly suspicious of “zip” files, considering this is the way the WannaCry ransomware is being distributed.
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