Category: Cyber-Security

Staying Safe Online – September 4, 2019

Get a one-ring call? Don’t call back.
By Michael Atleson, FTC Acting Assistant Director,
Division of Consumer & Business Education
A while back, we warned you about the “one ring” scam (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2014/02/one-ring-cell-phone-scam-can- ding-vour-wallet). That’s when you get a phone call from a number you don’t know, and the call stops after just one ring. The scammer is hoping you’ll call back, because it’s really an international toll number and will appear as a charge on your phone bill – with most of the money going to the scammer. Well, the scam is back with a vengeance, and the FCC just issued a new advisory (https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-alerts-consumersone- ring-call-back-scam) about it. Read the FCC’s advisory for more detail, but the advice from both agencies remains the same if you get one of these calls:
Don’t call back
Report the robocall to the FTC at www.donotcall.gov (http:!/www.donotcall.gov) and to the FCC at
www.fcc.gov/complaints (www.fcc.gov/complaints)
Always check your phone bill for suspicious or unusual charges
A Public Service Announcement Courtesy of Cedar Valley Bank & Trust

Staying Safe Online – August 7, 2019

Make it a scam-free vacation
By Lisa Lake, FTC Consumer Education Specialist
Right now, you probably still have beaches on the brain or you’re thinking about that long-planned trip abroad. Before you head out, take steps to help keep your dream vacation from becoming a nightmare:
Do some research – and then carefully read the details on travel offers.
First, get recommendations from family and friends on good travel agencies, vacation rentals, hotels and travel packages – before responding to offers.
Look up travel companies, hotels, rentals and agents with the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
Look for extra costs. Resort fees (also known as destination, facility and amenity fees) can add $50 or more to your nightly cost.
Ask about taxes, which may be significant in many locations.
Get a copy of the cancellation and refund policies before you pay.
If you’re buying travel insurance, be sure the agency is licensed (http://www.ustia.org/).
Bring copies of any confirmation details that show the rate and amenities you were promised. This also helps if the hotel or host says your reservation is “lost.”
Don’t pay for “prize” vacations. No legitimate company will ask you to pay for a prize. Also, look for catches to resort or timeshare (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0073-timeshares-and-vacation-plans) offers. They may come with taxes and fees to pay, timeshare presentations to attend, and high-pressure sales pitches to endure.
Don’t sign anything until you know the terms of the deal. Say “no thanks” to anyone who tries to rush you, without giving you time to consider the offer.
Use a credit card, if possible, for your travel spending. This gives you more protection than paying by cash or debit card- and it may be easier to dispute unauthorized charges (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0219-disputing-credit-card-charges).
Protect your identity and account information while you’re traveling.
Take only the IDs, credit cards and debit cards you need.
(https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure) Make copies so, if someone steals your bag, you’ll know exactly what was lost.
Make a copy of your insurance card to take with you.
Leave all other important documents safe at home.
Learn how to protect your mobile devices (https://www.consumer.ftc/gov/blog/2017/07/keep-security-mind-your-summer-vacation) and personal information from hackers and malware.
And while we hope it doesn’t happen to you, report identity theft (http://www.JdentityTheft.gov) and any other fraud (http://www.ftc.gov/complaint) you experience.

Staying Safe Online – July 3, 2019

Using Social Networking Sites: Be Careful What You Share
By Lisa Lake, FTC Consumer Education Specialist
Online games and websites for kids are everywhere these days – to the point where it’s commonplace to see toddlers playing with them, too. And while the internet often offers a positive way for children to explore and learn, privacy concerns are lurking. To help protect children’s privacy, the FTC enforces the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires websites and online services to obtain consent from parents before collecting personal information from kids younger than 13.
According to the FTC, i-Dressup, a website allowing users to play dress-up games, and its owners violated COPPA by collecting personal information from kids including names, email addresses, and user names – without obtaining parental consent and failing to take reasonable steps to protect this information. This led to a breach of i-Dressup’s network in August 2016. As a result of the breach, a hacker accessed the personal information and account passwords of over two million i-Dressup users, including at least 245,000 children under 13.
So how can you protect your child online? Here are some tips:
• Talk to your kids about what they’re doing online. Find out which games, social networking sites, and other online activities your kids are into and make sure you are comfortable with them.
• Talk to your children about the implications of providing personal information.
• Help your kids understand what information should stay private. Tell your kids why it’s important to keep information like Social Security numbers, street addresses, phone numbers, and financial information private.
• Learn more about how to protect your child when he’s online.
• File a complaint with the FTC if you think a site has put your child’s privacy at risk.
A Public Service Announcement Courtesy of Cedar Valley Bank & Trust
 

Staying Safe Online – June 5, 2019

A few tips to keep your child safe online
By Lisa Lake, FTC Consumer Education Specialist
Online games and websites for kids are everywhere these days – to the point where it’s commonplace to see toddlers playing with them, too. And while the internet often offers a positive way for children to explore and learn, privacy concerns are lurking. To help protect children’s privacy, the FTC enforces the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires websites and online services to obtain consent from parents before collecting personal information from kids younger than 13.
According to the FTC, i-Dressup, a website allowing users to play dress-up games, and its owners violated COPPA by collecting personal information from kids including names, email addresses, and user names – without obtaining parental consent and failing to take reasonable steps to protect this information. This led to a breach of i-Dressup’s network in August 2016. As a result of the breach, a hacker accessed the personal information and account passwords of over two million i-Dressup users, including at least 245,000 children under 13.
So how can you protect your child online? Here are some tips:
• Talk to your kids about what they’re doing online. Find out which games, social networking sites, and other online activities your kids are into and make sure you are comfortable with them.
• Talk to your children about the implications of providing personal information.
• Help your kids understand what information should stay private. Tell your kids why it’s important to keep information like Social Security numbers, street addresses, phone numbers, and financial information private.
• Learn more about how to protect your child when he’s online.
• File a complaint with the FTC if you think a site has put your child’s privacy at risk.
A Public Service Announcement Courtesy of Cedar Valley Bank & Trust

Staying Safe Online – May 1, 2019

Making passwords simple
You are often told your passwords are key to protecting your accounts (which is true!), but rarely are you given a simple way to securely create and manage all your passwords. Below we cover three simple steps to simplify your passwords, lock down your accounts, and protect your future.
Passphrases – The days of crazy, complex passwords are over. Those passwords are hard to remember, difficult to type, and with today’s super-fast computers can be easy for a cyber attacker to crack. The key to passwords is to make them long; the more characters you have the better. These are called passphrases: a type of strong password that uses a short sentence or random words. Here are two examples:
Time for strong coffee!
lost-snail-crawl-beach
Both of these are strong, with over twenty characters, easy to remember, and simple to type but difficult to crack. You will run into websites or situations requiring you to add symbols, numbers, or uppercase letters to your password, which is fine. Remember though, it’s length that is most important.
Password Managers – You need a unique password for every account. If you reuse the same password for multiple accounts, you are putting yourself in great danger. All a cyber attacker needs to do is hack a website you use, steal all the passwords including yours, then use your password to log in to all your other accounts as you. It happens far more often than you realize. Don’t believe it? Check out the website www.haveibeenpwned.com to see what sites you use that have been hacked and your passwords potentially compromised. So what should you do? Use a password manager.
These are special computer programs that securely store all your passwords in an encrypted vault. You only need to remember one password: the one for your password manager. The password manager then automatically retrieves your passwords whenever you need them and logs you in to websites for you. They also have other features such as storing your answers to secret questions, warning you when you reuse passwords, a password generator that ensures you use strong passwords, and many other features. Most password managers also securely sync across almost any computer or device, so regardless of what system you are using you have easy, secure access to all your passwords.
Finally, be sure to write down the password to your password manager and store that in a secure location at home. Some password managers even let you print out a password manager recovery kit. That way, if you forget the password to your password manager you have a backup. Or, if you get sick or find yourself in an emergency, your spouse or trusted family member can retrieve the information on your behalf.
Two-Step Verification -Two-step verification (often called two-factor authentication or multi -factor authentication) adds an additional layer of security. It requires you to have two things when you log in to your accounts: your password and a numerical code which is generated by your smartphone or sent to your phone. This process ensures that even if a cyber attacker gets your password, they still can’t get into your accounts. Two-step verification is simple to set up and you usually only need to use it once when you log in from a new computer or device. Enable this whenever possible, especially for your most important accounts such as your bank or retirement accounts, or access to your email. If you are using a password manager, we highly recommend you protect it with a strong passphrase AND two-step verification.
It may sound silly, but these three simple steps go a long way in protecting your job, your reputation, and your financial future.
A Public Service Announcement Courtesy of Cedar Valley Bank & Trust

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