A few weeks ago I attended a meeting held at the Dallas FBI headquarters on the topic of Cyber Crime. Agent J.D. Serrano of the FBI Dallas Cyber Computer Intrusion Squad briefed the regional Citizens Academy Alumni group on the latest cyber threats and trends. While most of the briefing addressed large businesses, there were a couple of take home pointers that are relevant to any owner of a computer device- think smart phone, iPad, computer. Because you are reading this, that would be…. YOU.
Lets talk about your cyber safety:
1) Beware of opening suspicious emails, even if the sender appears to be someone you know: Always trust your instincts- if it looks odd, don’t open it.
90-95% of all intrusions originate from a person opening an email.
2) Tighten up your passwords: Gone are the days where the hacker is a person sitting there inputting names. Now sophisticated systems are used that can crack your clever code in minutes or less. I will not name them because I don’t want to encourage foul play, but just be aware of the need to tighten up your own security. A couple of suggestions were made to help with this:
a) do not use the same password for everything, vary your passwords
b) use at least one capital letter, one # and one special character
c) consider using a phrase as a password, and be sure to use spaces in the phrase
d) or consider using just the 1st letters or that favorite phrase
3) FYI about Phone Photos: If your GPS is turned on in your phone settings, then meta data is storing onto each photo you take, pinpointing exact location of the photos you take. Whether that is good news or bad news for you, it is need to know info.
4) Crime Trends: Of the cases that are reported, bank robbery losses are decreasing while on-line losses are increasing– to the tune of +98% since 2008
5) If you are aware of any cyber foul play or suspect that you are a victim, report it immediately to www.IC3.gov . IC3 is the clearing house for internet complaints and internet related fraud incidents. This is the quickest way to receive help and it is important to document incidents, even if you are not aware of loss. Doing so might help solve another case.
Bottom Line- be aware and tighten up your own security!