Experts provide tips on how to stay safe from online hackers

Problem Solvers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are spending more time online. Cyber scammers know that and are working harder than ever to separate you from your cash.

TJ Max, Nintendo, Marriot, Dunkin Donuts, the federal government – those are just a few of the recent victims of computer hacks. When big companies or big governments get hacked, everyone feels the pain.

“The attackers are using data that has been stolen in a whole bunch of these data breaches over the years to get our contact information,” said Neil Daswani, a cyber security expert and co-director of the Stanford Advanced Security Certification Program.

Daswani said it’s easier than ever to become a victim of a cyber scammer.

“Simply clicking on a malicious link these days can affect your phone,” said Daswani, a former security expert at Google. “You don’t have to do anything beyond clicking on a link and within a few hundred milliseconds your phone can get infected. “

So what can a consumer do when even the federal government has been unable to thwart cyber attacks. For starters, Daswani said to slow down when you are online.

“I think some of the attackers prey on the fact that people are very busy and will click on anything to get things out of the way,” he said.

Another mistake many people make is not checking the address of an email before clicking on a link.

If you don’t recognize the address (URL) the email came from, don’t open that link. Better yet, if the email purports to be from the government or from your bank, call them (using a number you can trust) to verify that the email is legit.

As Daswani explains in his new book, “Big Breaches: Cybersecurity Lessons for Everyone,” some of the best ways to protect yourself are also the easiest. He recommended always signing up for two- factor identification – where you need to type in a code sent to your phone before you can log into your account.

“The attacker has to compromise your phone in addition to stealing your password,” Daswani said.
Because it’s unlikely the hacker has control over your phone and your computer, two-factor identification works.

Finally, Daswani recommends buying identity theft protection, particularly if you are elderly and living off your life savings. Companies like LifeLock can monitor your credit cards and bank accounts. Plus several offer dollar-for-dollar reimbursement insurance if your money ever does get stolen.



More News