Halloween is one of the most celebrated annual holidays, and cyber criminals always want to be part of it. It is essential for any modern day business to have a good security system that’s well maintained to protect and keep it one step ahead of cyber criminals.

As we get closer to Halloween, cyber criminals and hackers take advantage of the most popular Hollywood titles to launch so-called BlackHat SEO attacks, i.e. false Google and other search engine results with keywords related to popular topics of the time to trick users into clicking on their links.

Another popular form for hackers that we see distributed during these days is spam. They use typical Halloween characters to trick users and bring them to where they want. This way, in addition to obtaining personal data and revenue through clicks achieved, they redirect the user to other websites selling fraudulent or prohibited products.

As always, education, common sense and being forewarned is our best advice. We must be aware that they will try to deceive us with practical jokes, introducing real malware to our equipment which will lead us to a lot of headaches.

 

10 Tips to Avoid Online Scams on Halloween

1. Know the scams.

Read articles and blogs, follow the news, and share this so you can  learn about different kinds of scams and what you can do to avoid them and also help your friends.

2. Think before you click.

Never click on links in messages from people you don’t know or vaguely know. These phishing emails have links that lead to websites that can lure you into giving personal information or download malware to your computer. You should even be wary with emails from people you do know if it looks or sounds suspicious. Hackers can create a malicious email that looks like it came from your best friend’s email account.

3. Safely peruse.

Beware of phony websites. These sites may have an address that’s very similar to a legitimate site, but the page can have misspellings, bad grammar or low resolution images. However, scammers are getting better at replicating sites so make sure. If a site asks for personal information, that you double check the URL and make sure it’s not asking for information it shouldn’t.

4. Shop safely.

Don’t shop on a site unless it has the “https” and a padlock icon to the left or right of the URL. Also, protect yourself and use a credit card instead of a debit card while shopping online—a credit card company is more likely to reimburse you for fraudulent charges.

5. Kick-butt passwords.

Do away with the “Fitguy1982” password and use an extremely uncrackable one like 9&4yiw2pyqx#. Phrases are good too. Regularly change passwords and don’t use the same passwords for critical accounts. For more tips on how to create strong passwords, go to www.passwordday.org

6. Protect your info. Keep your guard up.

Back up all of your  data on your computer, smartphone and tablet in the event of loss, theft or a crash. Also, routinely check your various financial statements for questionable activity.

7. Watch your Wi-Fi connectivity.

Protect your network by changing your router’s default settings and making sure you have the connection password-protected.

8. Install a firewall.

A firewall is a great line of defense against cyber-attacks. Although most operating systems come with a firewall, you might want to consider installing a much better firewall than the one that comes built into your operating system.

9. Keep up to date.

The best security software updates automatically to protect your computer. Use the manufacturer’s latest security patches to make regular updates and make sure that you have the software set to do routine scans

10. Use your noggin.

You do not need to be a seasoned computer whiz to know that it’s not smart to open an attachment titled, “Claim Your Inheritance!” Using common sense while surfing the Web can protect you from some hungry cyber-shark.

 

Author: Jonathan Lawton

With almost a decade’s experience of successfully, supporting, designing and delivering innovative web development projects worldwide I now focus on providing leadership to help customers shape business and technology strategy.

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