Monthly Archives: July 2018

The Technology Blog

7 Ways To Protect Against Cryptojacking

By | Cyber Security | No Comments

7 Ways To Protect Against Cryptojacking

Right now, your computer might be using its memory, processing power, and your electricity to generate money illegally for someone else! It’s called “cryptojacking” and it targets the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies. Cybercriminals harness the power of your computer’s CPU for the sole purpose of mining cryptocurrency. Over 2,500 websites have already been accused of using visitor’s CPU power to harvest cryptocurrency. In a way, cybercriminals are creating their own ATM out of your computer.

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7 Ways To Protect Against Cryptojacking

What is Cryptojacking?

Cybercriminals who use cryptojacking target websites that generate a lot of online traffic.  They then infect the website with malicious code. The infection is not designed to steal your private data, but to harness the power of your Computer’s CPU in order to mine cryptocurrency. After the currency is mined it remains untraceable and is sent back to the cybercriminal.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero and Etherium can be obtained by cryptojackers and as the value of cryptocurrencies rise and fall; we must prepare to witness more of these cyber-attacks. How can you protect yourself and prevent cryptojacking?

How to Protect Your Computer Against Cryptojacking

  1. Always use antivirus software. Antivirus software detects the presence of malware and blocks many viruses before they can infect your computer. Make sure you keep your AV software up to date.
  2. Set software and apps to update automatically. Software and apps are constantly getting new security updates. Keep them up-to-date with automatic updates.
  3. Never install software or apps you don’t trust. Always install or download software and apps from trusted sources. Read reviews on the software and the site.
  4. Don’t click links without knowing where they lead. Clicking on links in spam or questionable emails can leave you vulnerable to phishing attacks.
  5. Be careful about visiting unfamiliar sites. Always use caution when visiting a website for the first time and be wary of any site that asks for personal data.
  6. Use an Ad-Blocker. Some ad-blockers help defend against cryptojacking by blocking mining code. Read reviews and check trusted sources before installing any online tools.
  7. Monitor your CPU usage. Open the resource monitor on your computer to check if the CPU usage is abnormally high. For Windows, it’s called “Task Manager” and for Mac it’s the “Activity Manager”. If you see a spike in CPU Usage when visiting a website or if you have everything closed but CPU usage is still extremely high, then you may have a crypto mining malware problem.

What To Do If You Suspect Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is a crime! If you suspect cryptojacking has happened to you, contact Pros 4 Technology today and then report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

What To Do After Account Fraud & Identity Theft

By | Identity Theft | No Comments

What To Do After Account Fraud & Identity Theft

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What To Do After Account Fraud & Identity Theft

Account Fraud v. Identity Theft

In today’s day and age when so much of your personal purchasing is done online, your personal information is more at risk than ever before. Accounts of credit card theft, credit and debit card skimming devices at gas stations, and data breaches at major retailers has many consumers on high alert to potential threats to their credit and bank accounts. What many people don’t realize is that these types of fraud and crime are not identity theft. Identity theft does involve the acquisition of your banking and credit information, but it also goes beyond your financial information. Identity thieves are after your personal information: social security number, tax return information, family information, address, birthdate, anything they can use to make money at your expense.

Dealing With Account Fraud

The Electronic Fund Transfer Act, or EFTA, addresses both Account Fraud and Identity Theft. Under the EFTA, as a victim of account fraud, you have a maximum of 60 days to dispute fraudulent charges with your bank or credit provider after account fraud has occured. All banking and credit institutions have departments or personnel that handle accounts of fraud. Under EFTA rules and guidelines victims of account fraud are only subject to a maximum liability of $50.

Checking your bank and credit statements on a regular basis will not only help you spot fraudulent activity, but will also help you track your personal spending. We recommend picking a day each week to review the previous weeks transactions. Since you only have 60 days to report and dispute charges, you’ll have plenty of time to get issues resolved.

So you’re monitoring your accounts and notice something is not right. What do you do? The first and most important thing to do is to call the bank or credit institution of the account in question. When you call have your account information or card number ready as well as a list of the charges you’re disputing. Plan on having your current debit or credit card cancelled and a new card issued. After receiving your new card be sure to switch over any automatic payments to the new card so you don’t miss payments or have services cancelled.

After Identity Theft

The road to recovery after identity theft is much longer than after account fraud. You’re not only dealing with getting your financial accounts secure, but also reclaiming and repairing your good name. Identity thieves use your personal information to open new lines of credit, rent apartments, file tax returns in your name, and even get jobs. Since they’re using your social security number, all of these actions appear on your credit report and make you liable! Imagine finding out about credit cards, loans or other debt obtained in your name only when a collection agency calls to collect the debt, scary.

What To Do After Identity Theft

Time is of the essence after you discover someone has stolen or compromised your identity. Unfortunately, identity thieves are incredibly hard to catch and authorities have difficulty tracking these types of crimes. After identity theft, the victim becomes the detective and restoration expert.

  1. Contact your bank and credit card companies. Check for fraudulent activity, request new credit and debit cards, and freeze accounts if necessary.
  2. Change your passwords. Make sure all your passwords are unique and not easy to guess. Using a password manager program is a great tool keeping passwords and accounts secure.
  3. Contact the 3 major credit reporting agencies; Equifax, Experian , and TransUnion . All three offer free services to individuals dealing with identity theft.
  4. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC webpage on identity theft is a great resource and will help you reclaim your identity.

What Can You Do To Prevent Identity Theft

While there is no fool-proof way to prevent all identity theft, there are important steps you can take to protect your identity. Make it a habit to check and monitor your credit report. Fraudulent activity and credit inquiries will appear on your credit report. The major credit reporting agencies even offer some free services to help prevent identity theft. Another step is to research and purchase an identity protection service. Companies, like LifeLock, can help reduce your risk and many handle the identity restoration process at no additional cost to you.

Businesses can also be victims of identity theft, contact Pros 4 Technology today to discuss protecting your business and employees from identity theft.

Synthetic Identity Theft

By | Cyber Security, Identity Theft | No Comments

Synthetic Identity Theft

It Sounds Like Science Fiction!

The name “synthetic identity theft” only hints at the true nature of this crime. A more apt name may be “synthetic identity creation” because it describes what cybercriminals are truly up to.

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What Is Synthetic Identity Theft?

 

What is Synthetic Identity Theft

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the invention of the internet, you’ve heard about identity theft. You can’t go online, watch TV or listen to the radio without seeing or hearing an identity protection ad or identity theft warning. Some of us, according to the Federal Trade Commission 1 out of 20 people, have been victims of identity theft and have had to go through the stress and anxiety of fixing it. While there are some similarities between “regular” identity theft and synthetic identity theft, there is one major difference: it’s not just your identity that’s stolen.
What pulls synthetic identity theft into its own category is that criminals are “blending” several people’s information together to create a new person. They’ll take a social security number from one person; the birth date from another; an address and phone number from two other people, and use the information to create a new identity. After creating the new identity criminals begin to open new lines of credit, apply for loans, rent apartments and perform other crimes. By blending several people’s personal information, a cybercriminal makes it much more difficult for people to catch them. Usually people become aware of identity theft when a collection agency or credit company contacts them to collect payment, with synthetic identity theft the efforts to collect on a debt are directed to multiple individuals making it harder to discover.

How Are Criminals Stealing Personal Information

When we think of identity theft an image of a shady, hooded figure sitting in front of a computer usually springs to mind. While hacking or purchasing your information online is one of the most common ways for criminals to get their hands on your information, they’re also targeting hard copies of your information. They steal mail, observe you and your family’s movements, even go through trash!

Criminals will go to great lengths to get their hands on your information. In today’s day and age, it is more important than ever to develop good habits when it comes to protecting your identity and personal information.

  • Practice shredding paperwork that contains personal information before placing it in the trash; in some areas there are shredding and disposal companies that are reasonably priced for families and individuals.
  • Monitor your credit report on a regular basis. Checking on your credit score and credit report on a monthly basis will keep you informed about irregular activity and criminals trying to open new lines of credit. Some of the major credit reporting agencies will even allow to freeze and unfreeze your account as a means to prevent fraudulent activity.
  • Check your bank and credit accounts weekly. Stay on top of your statements, if you notice fraudulent spending contact your bank or credit card company. Since you only have 60 days to report and dispute fraudulent activity, it’s best to act quickly
  • Create strong and unique passwords. It may be easier to have one password for everything, but it puts you at much greater risk of having your personal information stolen.

For more information on what to do if you suspect your identity has been compromised or stolen, read our blog What To Do After Account Fraud & Identity Theft.