Your Digital Legacy – Part 6. Scams and Cybercrime

It has been a long while since I first published the blog “Your Digital Legacy” on in 2010. I think that is still worth reading. However, in that time the growing threat has now become those that set out to attack us by gaining access to our assets like our bank accounts and our computers.

We call this Cybercrime and contrary to popular belief, these are usually not individuals wearing hoodies, but massive organised crime gangs scouring the Internet for opportunities. So, what can we do?

They often work by obtaining a password for one thing that you log in to and then using that password on other things to see if you reuse your passwords, which unfortunately most people do.

They also work by using scams to make you react to something. It may be a ridiculous post on Facebook or a too good to be true offer in an email or a threat that something might or has happened and you need to do something, usually log into your account.

The links in these posts are often fake and take you to a fake website where your username and password are copied and then the criminals then use that to log into your own account, change the password themselves and lock you out.

Another big scam to watch out for is fake free Wifi outlets. How this works is that you go to say an airport or café and you log into the free Wifi. The problem is that the hacker has set up a fake Wifi network that you log into and they copy all of your details. You are not aware that this is happening as the hacker passes your information through.

An emerging threat is USB charging outlets. You plug your phone into a USB charging port and that outlet is actually connected to a computer somewhere which then accesses your phone and copies it.

So, how can you reduce these threats? Here are some tips.
1. Secure your devices with a difficult to guess PIN or password. Do not use your birthday, car rego or other easy to guess PIN.
2. Use a unique strong password for everything you log into. Use a password manager like Keychain built into the Apple system or a paid password manager. Ideally, remember bank passwords.
3. Before you react to any email, text message, or post on social media requesting you to do something, STOP, THINK and VERIFY. Why are they asking this? Go to their website by typing in the URL. Ring them up and actually speak to someone there. It may take some time but may save yourself a lot. Be very wary when doing property purchases. These days you have to direct deposit the money into an account and lots of people have been caught by this scam of a fake email with banks details. Verify the details with your solicitor.
4. Set up Two Factor Authentication (TFA) or Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) on bank accounts and other critical sites. This requires you to receive a code by text or email that must be entered before you log in.
5. Do not use public Wifi networks. Use your mobile phone as a hotspot. If overseas buy a SIM or eSIM card and use that rather than Wifi.
6. Do not plug into provided USB charging points. Use your own charger plugged into a power point.
7. Update all of your devices to the latest security updates.
8. Use Tap and Pay or PayPal or cash as you don’t give credit card details away.
9. Don’t give a stranger your unlocked phone to take your picture. It happens!
10. Visit Scam Watch
11. If you run an organisation, delete old employee logins from the system and force regular password resets.
12. If discarding a device do a factory reset or destroy it.

These are just a few of the many scams out there. The criminal is seeking a reaction.
The big take away is:

There is some great information provided by Logan Daley that I recommend on his website and his YouTube channel

The information provided here is general in nature and may not apply in your circumstances. No responsibility can be accepted for the information provided and you rely on your own investigations. Always consult a professional.

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