Identity Theft Protection Tips / Cyber Security

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Identity Theft Protection Tips

Educate yourself your family, friends and those you work with on the measures they can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.

How to Reduce Your Chances of Becoming a Victim of Cyber Fraud or Identity Theft

Identity theft is the fraudulent use of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) by a thief to obtain goods, services, and/or employment; commit a crime; gain a benefit; or prevent revealing the thief's real identity.

PII includes but may not be limited to a consumer's name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, driver's license number, telephone number, passport information, birth certificate, student transcript, or medical record.
Some real-life examples of how stolen PII is used to commit identity theft include, but are not limited to, the thief's use of:

Some identity theft cannot be prevented, but your risk can be reduced by following some simple rules about keeping your personal information private. The following tips can reduce the likelihood that you will become a victim of fraud or identity theft.

Keep Your Personally Identifiable Information to Yourself
Be stingy with your personal information—always question when someone asks for it, whether in person, by phone, or by email.
Don't Carry Sensitive Documents
Leave at home any sensitive documents you will not need that day (credit/debit card, checkbook, etc.). Secure all other personal information in your home or office. Lock away account statements, check books, Social Security card, birth certificate, etc. Even if the physical card or document is not stolen, the information can be taken by a thief and used fraudulently.
Shred Important Documents
Cross-cut shred everything containing sensitive information before throwing away. This should make sensitive information unusable by a thief.

Review Cyber Security Reports Regularly

Be Secure in Social Networking Sites
Use social networking sites carefully. Fully explore and activate the security features each site offers.
Once Online – Always Online
Don't reveal too much about yourself on the internet, whether through text or photos. Practice prudent posting, as web postings and social networking sites are libraries of PII for identity theft perpetrators. Much of what you post online is there forever.
Protect Your Computer
Use computer security software and keep the security definitions up-to-date. This means when you get a notice to patch or upgrade your definitions do not wait. The bad guys look for those who haven't updated their systems as a way to exploit your network and databases.
Avoid Simple Passwords
Place complex passwords on your credit card, bank, and phone accounts and all online accounts (email, social networking sites, etc.). Use a combination of at least 8 numbers and characters (i.e., pGa20!o7&).
Don't Get Caught by "Phishers"
Beware of phishing email. Believe or not 90% of database breeches start with a phishing scam.  Anything that appears to be from a legitimate business and asks you to provide personal information by replying to the email, visiting a website, or calling a number could be fraudulent.  Don't fall victim to their high pressure tactics.
Don't Use your Car as a Safe
Do not leave items of personal identification in your car. Many people leave purses, wallets, briefcases, laptop computers and similar items in their vehicle and become the victim of theft. Identity theft often follows because the thief made use of the personal identifying information obtained in the purse/wallet, etc. theft.

Security Risks with Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi Networks
Wi-Fi hotspots — like the ones in coffee shops, airports, and hotels — are convenient, but they often aren't secure. Here are some exploits and how to protect yourself against them.
Man-in-the-Middle attacks
One of the most common threats on these networks is called a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack. Essentially, a MitM attack is a form of eavesdropping. When a computer makes a connection to the Internet, data is sent from point A (computer) to point B (service/website), and vulnerabilities can allow an attacker to get in between these transmissions and "read" them. So what you thought was private no longer is.
Unencrypted networks
Encryption means that the information that is sent between your computer and the wireless router are in the form of a "secret code," so that it cannot be read by anyone who doesn't have the key to decipher the code.

Most routers are shipped from the factory with encryption turned off by default, and it must be turned on when the network is set up. If an IT professional sets up the network, then chances are good that encryption has been enabled. However, there is no surefire way to tell if this has happened.
Malware distribution
Thanks to software vulnerabilities, there are also ways that attackers can slip malware onto your computer without you even knowing. A software vulnerability is a security hole or weakness found in an operating system or software program. Hackers can exploit this weakness by writing code to target a specific vulnerability, and then inject the malware onto your device.
Snooping and sniffing
Wi-Fi snooping and sniffing is what it sounds like. Cybercriminals can buy special software kits and even devices to help assist them with eavesdropping on Wi-Fi signals. This technique can allow the attackers to access everything that you are doing online — from viewing whole webpages you have visited (including any information you may have filled out while visiting that webpage) to being able to capture your login credentials, and even hijack your accounts.
Malicious hotspots
These "rogue access points" trick victims into connecting to what they think is a legitimate network because the name sounds reputable.

Say you're staying at the Goodnyght Inn and want to connect to the hotel's Wi-Fi. You may think you're selecting the correct one when you click on "GoodNyte Inn," but you haven't. Instead, you've just connected to a rogue hotspot set up by cybercriminals who can now view your sensitive information.

How to stay safe on public Wi-Fi

The best way to know your information is safe while using public Wi-Fi is to use a virtual private network (VPN), like Nord, when surfing on your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet. However, if you must use public Wi-Fi, follow these tips to protect your information.

Cyber Security - What not to do:

Cyber Security - What you should do:

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