Those who are familiar with ionCube and ionCube24 will know we are big on security with our focus being on robust PHP code protection tools and website malware protection. But what about the daily cyber security risks which affect all of us? Cyber crime is a huge deal in the age of technology and not everyone will be as aware of tools we can use to protect ourselves or the tips we can consider every day to keep ourselves safe. In this article we look at some of the more common every day risks and how you can stay safe from cyber criminals.
Phishing – The most common access point for a criminal to take something from you is via a phishing email. if you receive an unexpected email offering some special deal, or having to confirm details due to an attempt to access your account or anything asking you to do something often with an element of haste, stop, think and check. Stop. just stop, will a few minutes make a difference? Think to consider if this is reasonable and expecting this kind of behavior from past experience. Importantly, don’t click on any links!
Check – Spelling okay? Contact details okay? Do they give you any clue that this is specifically for you by name or identifying details? Hover over the links if they provide and make sure they go where you expect. If in any doubt go instead directly via previously known and safe contact methods such as website, phone or shop.
Don’t give details you don’t expect to be needed – If a form asks you for details you wouldn’t be relevant such as your mothers maiden name when you are in a shopping cart then consider alternatives.
Secure and unique – Use VPNs, use secure connections at all times and never share passwords.
Phone Calls – Watch out equally for unusual and unexpected phone calls from alleged companies attempting attempting to either get personal information or to make a payment. Like phishing emails, they will often use vague but plausible sounding information but leave out crucial points which would alert you to a scam. However unlike phishing emails, they have the element of applying pressure on the spot and using subtle psychological pressure to make you over share or be polite. Take your time, stay calm and ultimately don’t engage if things seem suspicious.
For example, just now I had a phone call to say my fridge/freezer warranty is about to expire and I can extend it if I want to. Well, that is an item everyone is likely to have and quite likely that it would have been replaced in the last 2-3 years, however they didn’t announce who they were phoning from or what model of fridge freezer it was for. So with that broad suggestion they launched straight in with an offer and added a bit of pressure to make a decision. Most importantly the previous two days I had calls from similar phone numbers saying my internet would be cut off soon if I didn’t pay…. The phone went down.
Try to keep these and other similar practices in mind and (hopefully) we’ll stay safe and won’t fall victim to such scams!
Remember, if you run your own website then you should be sure to use protection tools such as website scanners as well as suits like ionCube24 for malware protection, service monitoring and error reporting!