Protect yourself against phishing attacks

What do the Swine Flu, Obama’s inauguration and the FIFA World Cup™ have in common?

All are highly circulated media stories proving to be great money-making opportunities for cybercriminals around the world, and the source of their income is your back pocket!

Malware is becoming increasingly sophisticated and prevalent. Cybercriminals are continuously developing advanced techniques to lure you into their traps. You don’t have to go out of your way to visit dodgy websites to get scammed these days.  Cybercriminals will lure you there by pretending to be legitimate sources of information.

Hackers are taking advantage of major news stories and current events such as the Swine Flu pandemic and Obama’s inauguration to circulate email blasts luring people into clicking on links that take them to phishing or malicious websites.

The swine flu pandemic generated “outbreak” themed spam distributed to email accounts worldwide. The email included PDF attachments containing malicious software that, when opened, infected the host computer. The spam email also contained links directing recipients to online pharmacy stores that captured personal and financial information.

A similar pattern occurred earlier this year with the interest generated around Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony. In an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the new President, cybercriminals sent out emails with subject lines like “Obama refused to be the president of the United States of America,” and “There is no president in USA anymore, Obama has gone.” Malicious links contained within these emails led unsuspecting users to an illegitimate website – almost identical to the official site – which would then proceed to install malicious software without the user’s knowledge.

These particular threats are examples of highly sophisticated phishing attacks, designed to steal usernames and passwords or to take control of your system, potentially leading to identity theft and most commonly, financial loss.

Swine flu, the FIFA World Cup™, Obama’s Inauguration, the Californian Wildfires, the Australian Black Saturday fires, Valentine’s Day and the Superbowl – you name it – anything of significant media importance is likely to be exploited by hackers.

So how do you protect yourself against these attacks?

A dual protection strategy is best, make sure you have industry recognized PC security such as Spyware Doctor™ with AntiVirus or PC Tools Internet Security™ combined with behavioral, zero-day protection available in software like ThreatFire, giving you the most comprehensive protection against these threats. However even with the best security protection, the methods used by cybercriminals are evolving every day, and therefore you should always be on guard. Here are a couple of additional common sense measures you can take to protect yourself:

1. Be wary of unexpected emails from unknown sources urging you to open or run an attachment or download.

2. Avoid clicking on links sent to you via emails and instant messages, even if they appear to be sent from a known or reputable source, better still, hit delete before opening suspicious emails.

3. Install comprehensive security software which has real-time behavioral based and browser protection such as Spyware Doctor with Antivirus and PC Tools Internet Security.

4. Only visit trusted and reputable websites.

5. Only purchase/download products from trusted sources.

6. If you’re not already protected, look for reputable software such a Spyware Doctor™ with AntiVirus and PC Tools Internet Security™, and ensure you apply Windows® security updates regularly. 

 With Spyware Doctor and Internet Security you will get protection against:  Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Viruses, Worms, Keyloggers, Identity Theft, Hijackers, Tracking Threats, Rogue Anti-Spyware, Unwanted Software, Phishing, Popups, Hackers and Bad Websites.

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