Profitable Preparedness Podcast – Episode 29
Online Security and Jumpstarting the New Year
Where we help hardworking people in the preparedness community to break out of corporate America to live a totally free life.
As Christmas and the New Year quickly approaches, we all scramble to finalize holiday details. For some, that means finishing up shopping or coordinating holiday visits. If you are like me and prefer to shop online instead of in store it means carefully calculating shipping days to ensure that everything arrives before Christmas Day. It never fails though, I usually have to stop somewhere to pick up something in person. Like most guys, my in person shopping trips are efficient, and thought out trips to get what I need and get out as quickly as possible. I even time myself when grocery shopping to try and beat my best time.
In this episode, we thought that we would discuss some tips and tricks to keep yourself and your bank account safe during one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year.
With the New Year around the corner we also wanted to cover how to develop a game plan to make 2019 a game changer year for you and your family.
Cyber Security Terminology
A technology that allows us to access our files and/or services through the internet from anywhere in the world. Technically speaking, it’s a collection of computers with large storage capabilities that remotely serve requests.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A tool that allows the user to remain anonymous while using the internet by masking the location and encrypting traffic.
An internet version of a home address for your computer, which is identified when it communicates over a network; For example, connecting to the internet (a network of networks).
A malicious application or script that can be used to take advantage of a computer’s vulnerability.
The moment a hacker successfully exploits a vulnerability in a computer or device, and gains access to its files and network.
Malware “the bad guy”
An umbrella term that describes all forms of malicious software designed to wreak havoc on a computer. Common forms include: viruses, trojans, worms and ransomware.
A type of malware aimed to corrupt, erase or modify information on a computer before spreading to others. However, in more recent years, viruses like Stuxnet have caused physical damage.
A form of malware that deliberately prevents you from accessing files on your computer – holding your data hostage. It will typically encrypt files and request that a ransom be paid in order to have them decrypted or recovered.
A piece of malware that often allows a hacker to gain remote access to a computer through a “back door”.
A piece of malware that can replicate itself in order to spread the infection to other connected computers.
A type of software application or script that performs tasks on command, allowing an attacker to take complete control remotely of an affected computer. A collection of these infected computers is known as a “botnet” and is controlled by the hacker or “bot-herder”
An acronym that stands for distributed denial of service – a form of cyber attack. This attack aims to make a service such as a website unusable by “flooding” it with malicious traffic or data from multiple sources (often botnets).
Phishing or Spear Phishing
A technique used by hackers to obtain sensitive information. For example, using hand-crafted email messages designed to trick people into divulging personal or confidential data such as passwords and bank account information.
Tips to Protect Yourself When Shopping Online
1. Clean up your passwords
Don’t use the same password on more than one website. If the crooks get one password, they’ll immediately try it on all your other accounts.
Make your passwords as long and complex as you can; in fact, consider using a password manager, which will come up with a unique password for each website automatically.
2. Update your devices
When patches come out, most of them fix security holes that the crooks either already know about or will find out about soon.
Don’t put off security updates because “later will be fine”. Follow our advice: patch early, patch often.
3. Back up your files
Whether you’re taking your laptop on holiday, or staying at home with your faithful desktop this festive season, don’t forget to back up your precious documents on all of your devices.
That way if your files are lost, stolen, “reconfigured” by a teenaged “expert”, or, worst of all, held for extortion by ransomware, you can still get your data back.
4. Watch out for booby-trapped ATMs when out shopping
Watch out for modified ATMs when you withdraw money. Crooks often glue fake parts onto or around ATMs in the hope of covertly reading both your card data and your PIN.
If you see an ATM with any components that look as though they don’t belong, report it to the bank and the police. That way you protect yourself and everyone else too.
5. Beware of login links in emails
When an email urges you to click on a link to login to your account and change your password, or something similar, it’s probably crooks trying to phish you onto a fake site that will look exactly like the real thing, except that the crooks get your password, not the real website.
If you want to check a transaction on one of your accounts, open your browser and browse to the website yourself.
6. Look for the padlock in the URL bar when shopping online
A padlock in the address bar and a URL that starts with “HTTPS” means the website uses an encrypted or secure connection.
All major websites, not just financial institutions, use HTTPS these days, so if you see a site that’s asking for personal information but doesn’t have the padlock, you can be sure it’s a fake.
7. Watch out for bogus courier emails
At Christmas time, you may very well get products delivered to your home, so you’ll be expecting a visit from a courier company. Crooks know this and send fake emails about bogus delivery problems, hoping to draw you into their web.
If you want to contact a courier company to check on a delivery, look up their phone number or email address yourself – don’t use any links or information from an email.
8. Don’t email/text your credit card details
Sometimes you’ll try to buy that special gift for Christmas, but your credit card won’t go through. In perfectly good faith, the seller may ask you to email through your card details to try again later.
But that email could end up in the hands of cybercrooks, even if the seller handles it with care once they’ve received it. Remember: if in doubt, don’t give it out!
9. Do not pay at the gas pump in Kentucky.
10. Change default passwords before using new home video devices
Whether it’s a new baby monitor, home surveillance system, or any other internet-enabled camera, it probably has a default password.
If you don’t change the password then you are making it easy for a cybercriminal to hack in and watch whatever you’re filming. That could be you, your house, your baby, or something else that you’d prefer to keep away from prying eyes.
11. Think before you share on social media
Maybe it sounds obvious, but oversharing on social media is a bad idea, and there is no better time to remind you of this than the party season.
Whether it’s photos of other people, your credit card details, the fact that you’re HOLDING A REALLY AMAZING PARTY ON FRIDAY NIGHT or anything else, stop and think before you share. Once you post it, you’ll never be able to take it back.
12. Upgrade the software on new devices before using them
Even “new” computers and hardware devices usually need updates right away. After all, between when they were made and when you first use them, the crooks have had time to find new security holes to attack.
If you want to protect your new devices, always patch before using them, even if it’s Christmas Day and you’re dying to try out your brand new present.
Jumpstarting the New Year
Step 1: Dream/Magic Wand
Step 2: Identify Obstacles
Step 3: Create Solutions
Step 4: Develop a Game plan/Roadmap
Step 5: Prioritize/Big Rocks
Step 6: Set Goals/S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Bound)
Step 7: Act/Start NOW!
Resolutions are bogus because they lack structure. This is not a resolution; this is a dream with a game plan, specific action steps and goals to support it.
We are doing a large giveaway for 2019. Please like us on Facebook at Profitable Preparedness to vote in the poll for what the prize will be:
*Rant Audio Clip: Property of Warner Brother’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation*
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