identity theft

roberto-nickson-u6fDUe2x11g-unsplash-200x300.jpg

How to Ensure You Don’t Fall Victim to a Holiday Scam this Festive Season

How to Ensure You Don’t Fall Victim to a Holiday Scam this Festive Season 1

If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, I have no doubt that he’d revise his famous quote: ‘Nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes’ to include online holiday scams! For there is no question that online scammers and cybercriminals love the festive season! The bulk of us are time-poor, stressed, and sporting to-do lists as long as our arms – so cybercrims know it’s inevitable that some of us are going to take short cuts with our online safety and fall into their webs!

And McAfee research shows just that with over a third of Aussies having either fallen victim to or know someone who has been affected by a phishing scam in 2019. A phishing scam is when a scammer poses as a trustworthy entity (for example, a bank or government department) usually via email with the sole purpose of trying to extract sensitive information such as passwords, usernames and credit card details. And clearly, phishing is a very lucrative online trick as it was named as the worst scam of 2019!

Top Scams of 2019

Although phishing scams have taken out the top place for 2019, robocalling scams and shipping notification scams have also caused Aussies great pain this calendar year.

If you receive a phone call with a pre-recorded message that presents a grim scenario if you don’t take action then you’ve been robocalled! My family’s ‘favourite’ one from 2019 was the scam which delivered a pre-recorded message advising us that our phone line would be cut unless we spoke immediately to their technician. The Australian Telecommunications Ombudsman was overrun with complaints about this particular heist which backs up McAfee’s research that shows 32% of Aussies either fell victim to this scam, or knew someone who did.

Shipping notification scams have also caused Aussies grief this year with more than a 1/4 of us (26%) affected or in touch with someone who was. The meteoric rise of online shopping has meant that when many of us are notified about an impending delivery, we probably don’t stop to question its authenticity.

How Much Are Scams Costing Aussies?

In Australia, 1 in 10 scam victims (11%) have lost money as a result of being targeted by a scam. And a quarter of those affected have lost more than $500! Now, that’s a sizeable chunk of cash!

But in addition to an initial monetary sting, having your personal details ‘stolen’ via a scam may come back to haunt you later down the track. According to McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research (ATR), more than 2.2 billion stolen account credentials were made available on the criminal underground in just the first 3 months of 2019!

Cybercriminals Love the Holidays!

The holiday season is particularly stressful for consumers, and cybercriminals plan accordingly. Many of us ramp up our online shopping in the lead-up to the holiday period and, as our ‘to-do’ lists get longer, some of us will inevitably let our guard down online. And cybercriminals know this too well so consequently spend a lot of effort devising cunning schemes to take advantage of our corner-cutting.

Cybercriminals put a lot of effort into devising fake accounts and sites to target consumers around key holiday shopping periods however some Aussies aren’t aware of these ploys with 21% of the Aussies interviewed not aware scams like these existed.

How to Ensure You Don’t Fall Victim to a Holiday Scam this Festive Season 2

How Can Consumers Stay Safe This Holiday Period?

I highly recommend that you (and your family members) take a little time this holiday period to sure up your online safety. Here are a few simple steps that consumers can take to protect themselves and avoid getting scammed this festive period:

  1. Think Before Clicking on Links

With phishing scams revealed to be the worst scam of the year, it is more important than ever to think before clicking on links. Instead of clicking on a link in an email, it is always best to check directly with the source to verify an offer or shipment.

  1. Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

With just one hack, cybercriminals can get their hands on thousands of passwords, which they can then use to try to access multiple accounts. By using a different password for each, shopping, media streaming or social media account, you can dramatically reduce this risk.

  1. Invest in Security Protection Software

Use comprehensive security protection, like McAfee Total Protection, which can help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor, which can help identify malicious websites.

  1. Consider a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A solution like McAfee Safe Connect with bank-grade encryption, private browsing services, and internet security will keep your information safe from cybercriminals – even when checking emails or online shopping on public Wi-Fi or open networks.

And finally beware bogus gift card scams! One new trend that is set to hit unsavvy consumers hard this holiday season is phoney gift cards, with McAfee’s ATR team seeing fake gift cards sold on the cybercriminal underground. Yet, despite the rise in this scam, 17 per cent of the survey respondents have never heard of bogus gift cards and over a quarter (26%) reported that they are not concerned about the threat. So, please spread the word and do your homework before buying gift cards!

Here’s to a Happy, Scam-Free Holiday Season!

The post How to Ensure You Don’t Fall Victim to a Holiday Scam this Festive Season appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

shutterstock_1325841698-300x198.jpg

7 Ways to Wreck a Cybercrook’s Holidays

7 Ways to Wreck a Cybercrook’s Holidays 3

holiday scams’Tis the season for giving and who better to give a giant headache to than the digital scammers working overtime to wreck our holidays? Can we spot and unravel every scam out there? Probably not. But, by taking a few minutes to get equipped to click, we can dodge common traps laid by cybercrooks and wreck their holidays before they get a chance to wreck ours.

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robo Calls

As informed as most of us may profess to be, American consumers continue to step into cyber traps every day. In fact, according to a recent McAfee survey, in 2019, 74% of those surveyed admitted to losing more than $100 in scams and almost a third (30%) losing more than $500. The survey also revealed that 48% of Americans have been or know someone who has been a victim of robocalling in 2019, making it the most prevalent scam of the year. Email phishing (41%) and text phishing (35%) are also tricks we fell for in 2019.

Cybercrooks call those stats a very happy holiday.

Are you equipped to click?

We can do our part to reduce these statistics. Before we all get distracted with shopping sprees or fall into sugar comas, call a family huddle. Discuss ways to avoid the digital traps and send cybercrooks into a maze of locked doors and dead ends. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

7 ways to wreck a cybercrook’s holidays

  1. Get real about cybercrime. Don’t sugar coat cybercrime for your kids. Here’s the truth: Over 2.2 billion stolen account credentials were made available on the cybercriminal underground throughout Q1 2019 alone, which puts a priceless amount of user data at risk. Crooks are targeting us. They are shopping the black web for stolen data to use in a variety of illegal ways. If we fail to lock our digital doors, the consequences can be emotionally and financially devastating and may last years.
  2. Shake up your passwords. Never use the same password. By uncovering one of your passwords,  cybercriminals can get their hands on thousands of passwords, which they can then use to try to access multiple accounts. So change passwords often and use a variety, especially around the holidays when online shopping spikes.
  3. Verify emails. Slow down to examine emails. Instead of clicking on an email link, check directly with the source to verify an offer or shipment. Cybercriminals are getting very sophisticated. They are creating full websites that closely mimic brand retailers. Also, they are posing as friends, family, and colleagues in an attempt to get you to click a link that will download malicious malware onto your computer.
  4. Browse securely. Use a comprehensive security solution to help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks, and malicious websites.
  5. Use a tool to help protect your personal information. Take a proactive approach to help protect identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help your identity secure.
  6. Verify shipments. Cybercrooks understand consumer habits. They know you’ve likely ordered from several online retailers, so they will exploit that and try to confuse you by sending bogus shipment notifications or reward  you with “added offers.” The email will look legitimate. It will likely have a legitimate-looking email address and branding of the retailer or shipping company. Check directly with the source before clicking any link in an offer or shipment notification.
  7. Protect your identity. Criminals are on the prowl to find weak links anywhere personal data is kept — the includes credit card companies and banks. Get proactive in protecting your identity and the identities of your family members with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools.

Even with the threats that exist around us, keep your sights fixed on the bigger picture. The holiday season is still merry and bright. People are still good. And, peace on earth — and in your home — is still possible this year. With a little foresight and a few cool tools, you are more than able to protect the things that matter most.

To stay informed on the latest digital news, trends, and family safety insights, subscribe to this and other McAfee blogs. Follow @McAfee_Family on Twitter to join the digital parenting conversation.

The post 7 Ways to Wreck a Cybercrook’s Holidays appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

iStock-625793968_COUPLEHOLIDAY-min-300x200.jpg

This Holiday Season, Watch Out for These Cyber-Grinch Tricks

This Holiday Season, Watch Out for These Cyber-Grinch Tricks 4

Whether it be that their shoes are too tight, their heads aren’t screwed on just right, or they’re expressing a little bit of “Bah Humbug,” cyber-grinches and cyber-scrooges everywhere view the holiday season as a perfect opportunity to exploit users. In fact, McAfee recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 adults over the age of 18 in the U.S. from October 10-20, 2019 to shed light on the types of scams they encountered this year. Let’s take a look at how criminals are attempting to steal the fun of the holiday season with various scams.

Ribbons, Wrappings, and Robocalls

The survey revealed that 48% of Americans have been a victim of or know someone who has been a victim of robocalling in 2019, making it the most prevalent scam of the year. Respondents also reported that they had been targeted with email phishing (41%) and text phishing (35%) in 2019. Another popular trend this year among these crooks? What’s old is new again. While cybercriminal activity has become increasingly sophisticated over the years, survey results showed that these less sophisticated scams of Christmas are still a popular avenue for cybercriminals to exploit.

Combined, all these scams have left quite a financial impact. 74% of respondents admitted to losing more than $100 to these scams, while 30% lost more than $500. What’s more, over 2.2 billion stolen account credentials were made available on the cybercriminal underground throughout Q1 2019 alone, posing an even greater threat to users’ data.

Between all the threats stemming from these cyber-grinches and cyber-scrooges, scams have the potential to haunt users’ digital past, present, and future. Which begs the question – what should users do? They can start by first reading McAfee’s own Christmas Carol:

This Holiday Season, Watch Out for These Cyber-Grinch Tricks 5

Be on the Lookout for These Cyber-Grinch Tricks

While most users believe that cyber-scams become more prevalent during the holidays, a third don’t actually take any steps to change their online behavior. In fact, by cutting some corners to pave way for holiday fun, users may be putting themselves at more risk than they realize. While using devices and apps for tasks like holiday shopping, streaming TV shows, and food delivery services, users are sharing more personal information than ever before. By targeting these popular apps, cybercriminals can collect and store key data, including home addresses, credit card information, and account passwords that they can use for future attacks.

Another trend that’s set to hit unsavvy users this holiday season is phony gift cards, with McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team discovering phony gift cards sold on the cybercriminal underground. However, the survey found that only 43% of respondents are aware of fake gift cards as a threat. What’s more, users are also failing to check shopping websites, with over one-third (37%) of respondents admitting that they don’t check an email sender or retailer’s website for authenticity. By not being mindful of these grinchy tricks, users open themselves up to many avenues of exploitation.

Securing Your Holiday Season

We must stop these Christmas scams from coming, but how? To help ensure a cyber-grinch doesn’t put a damper on your holiday season, check out the following security tips.

  • Never reuse passwords. With just one hack, cybercriminals can get their hands on thousands of passwords, which they can then use to try to access multiple accounts. Ensure that all of your passwords are complex and unique.
  • Go directly to the source. Instead of clicking on a link in an email, it’s always best to check directly with the source to verify an offer or shipment.
  • Browse with security protection. Use a comprehensive security solution, likeMcAfee Total Protection, which can help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor, which can help identify malicious websites.
  • Use a tool to help protect your personal information. A solution like McAfee Identity Theft Protection takes a proactive approach to help protect identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep identities personal and secure.

And, as always, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The post This Holiday Season, Watch Out for These Cyber-Grinch Tricks appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

shutterstock_508588189-300x200.jpg

Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips

Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips 6

Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips 7The topics parents need to discuss with kids today can be tough compared to even a few years ago. The digital scams are getting more sophisticated and the social culture poses new, more inherent risks. Weekly, we have to breach very adult conversations with our kids. Significant conversations about sexting, bullying, online scams, identity fraud, hate speech, exclusion, and sextortion — all have to be covered but we have to do it in ways that matter to kids.

With 95% of teens now having access to a smartphone and 45% online ”almost constantly,” it’s clear we can’t monitor conversations, communities, and secret apps around the clock. So the task for parents is to move from a mindset of ”protect” to one of ”prepare” if we hope to get kids to take charge of their privacy and safety online.

Here are a few ideas on how to get these conversations to stick.

  1. Bring the headlines home. A quick search of your local or regional headlines should render some examples of kids who have risked and lost a lot more than they imagined online. Bringing the headlines closer to home — issues like reputation management, sex trafficking, kidnapping, sextortion, and bullying — can help your child personalize digital issues. Discussing these issues with honesty and openness can bring the reality home that these issues are real and not just things that happen to other people.
  2. Netflix and discuss. Hollywood has come a long way in the last decade in making films for tweens and teens that spotlight important digital issues. Watching movies together is an excellent opportunity to deepen understanding and spark conversation about critical issues such as cyberbullying, teen suicide, sextortion, catfishing, stalking, and examples of personal courage and empathy for others. Just a few of the movies include Cyberbully, 13 Reasons Why (watch with a parent), Eighth Grade, Searching, Bully, Disconnect. Character building movies: Dumplin’, Tall Girl, Wonder, Girl Rising, The Hate U Give, Mean Girls, and the Fat Boy Chronicles, among many others.
  3. Remove phones. Sometimes absence makes that heart grow appreciative, right? Owning a phone (or any device) isn’t a right. Phone ownership and internet access is a privilege and responsibility. So removing a child’s phone for a few days can be especially effective if your child isn’t listening or exercising wise habits online. One study drives this phone-dependency home. Last year researchers polled millennials who said they’d rather give up a finger than their smartphones. So, this tactic may prove to be quite effective.Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips 8
  4. Define community. Getting kids to be self-motivated about digital safety and privacy may require a more in-depth discussion on what “community” means. The word is used often to describe social networks, but do we really know and trust people in our online “communities?” No. Ask your child what qualities he or she values in a friend and who they might include in a trusted community. By defining this, kids may become more aware of who they are letting in and what risks grow when our digital circles grow beyond trusted friends.
  5. Assume they are swiping right. Dating has changed dramatically for tweens and teens. Sure there are apps like MeetMe and Tinder that kids explore, but even more popular ways to meet a significant other are everyday social networks like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Instagram, where kids can easily meet “friends of friends” and start “talking.” Study the pros and cons of these apps. Talk to your kids about them and stress the firm rule of never meeting with strangers.
  6. Stay curious. Stay interested. If you, as a parent, show little interest in online risks, then why should your child? By staying curious and current about social media, apps, video games, your kids will see that you care about — and can discuss — the digital pressures that surround them every day. Subscribe to useful family safety and parenting blogs and consider setting up Google Alerts around safety topics such as new apps, teens online, and online scams.Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips 9
  7. Ask awesome questions. We know that lectures and micromanaging don’t work in the long run, so making the most of family conversations is critical. One way to do this is to ask open-ended questions such as “What did you learn from this?” “What do you like or dislike about this app?” “Have you ever felt unsafe online?” and “How do you handle uncomfortable or creepy encounters online?” You might be surprised at where the conversations can go and the insight you will gain.

Make adjustments to your digital parenting approach as needed. Some things will work, and others may fall flat. The important thing is to keep conversation a priority and find a rhythm that works for your family. And don’t stress: No one has all the answers, no one is a perfect parent. We are all learning a little more each day and doing the best we can to keep our families safe online.

Be Part of Something Big

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). Become part of the effort to make sure that our online lives are as safe and secure as possible. Use the hashtags #CyberAware, #BeCyberSafe, and #NCSAM to track the conversation in real-time.

The post Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

img_1614157351287194-300x300.jpg

Hack-ception: Benign Hacker Rescues 26M Stolen Credit Card Records

Hack-ception: Benign Hacker Rescues 26M Stolen Credit Card Records 10

There’s something ironic about cybercriminals getting “hacked back.” BriansClub, one of the largest underground stores for buying stolen credit card data, has itself been hacked. According to researcher Brian Krebs, the data stolen from BriansClub encompasses more than 26 million credit and debit card records taken from hacked online and brick-and-mortar retailers over the past four years, including almost eight million records uploaded to the shop in 2019 alone.

Most of the records offered up for sale on BriansClub are “dumps.” Dumps are strings of ones and zeros that can be used by cybercriminals to purchase valuables like electronics, gift cards, and more once the digits have been encoded onto anything with a magnetic stripe the size of a credit card. According to Krebs on Security, between 2015 and 2019, BriansClub sold approximately 9.1 million stolen credit cards, resulting in $126 million in sales.

Hack-ception: Benign Hacker Rescues 26M Stolen Credit Card Records 11

Back in September, Krebs was contacted by a source who shared a plain text file with what they claimed to be the full database of cards for sale through BriansClub. The database was reviewed by multiple people who confirmed that the same credit card records could also be found in a simplified form by searching the BriansClub website with a valid account.

So, what happens when a cybercriminal, or a well-intentioned hacker in this case, wants control over these credit card records? When these online fraud marketplaces sell a stolen credit card record, that record is completely removed from the inventory of items for sale. So, when BriansClub lost its 26 million card records to a benign hacker, they also lost an opportunity to make $500 per card sold.

What good comes from “hacking back” instances like this? Besides the stolen records being taken off the internet for other cybercriminals to exploit, the data stolen from BriansClub was shared with multiple sources who work closely with financial institutions. These institutions help identify and monitor or reissue cards that show up for sale in the cybercrime underground. And while “hacking back” helps cut off potential credit card fraud, what are some steps users can take to protect their information from being stolen in the first place? Follow these security tips to help protect your financial and personal data:

  • Review your accounts. Be sure to look over your credit card and banking statements and report any suspicious activity as soon as possible.
  • Place a fraud alert. If you suspect that your data might have been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit. This not only ensures that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny, but also allows you to have extra copies of your credit report so you can check for suspicious activity.
  • Consider using identity theft protection. A solution like McAfee Identify Theft Protection will help you to monitor your accounts and alert you of any suspicious activity

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook

The post Hack-ception: Benign Hacker Rescues 26M Stolen Credit Card Records appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Vox Messenger Logo - 512x512

End-2-End Encrypted. Secure. Ad-Free.
Lightweight and Faster than the Competition.

Vox Messenger is an ad-free, secure and end-2-end encrypted alternative to other popular chat messenger apps.

Available for Free. Whitelabel Corporate Edition Available on Request.

Vox Messenger {Secure} - Communicate safely with our private and secure messaging app | Product Hunt Embed

All Rights Reserved - © Copyright 2020 - Vox Messenger (a Division of Kryotech Ltd.)