Become a ‘smart’ Internet user
A recent ‘October Consumer Cyber Safety Pulse Report by Norton Labs’ lists the common Internet scams that people are falling prey to, with tech support scams surging to the top spot. Online gaming, internet banking and phishing are the other top areas of concern that Internet users need to watch out for in this age of everything online.
How many times have you seen the pop-up “Your PC is at Risk” on your computer screen in the past year and a half? The answer for most of us would be many.
The shift to everything virtual and increased reliance on computers, smartphones and tablets to make room for remote work, virtual school and online lessons ranging from music classes for children to virtual yoga for adults, has made us susceptible to all sorts of online scams, with tech support scams leading the long list of threats.
The recent ‘October Consumer Cyber Safety Pulse Report by Norton Labs' revealed that tech support scams surged to Number 1 spot in the list of scam threats that we are exposed to. Tech support scams come as a pop-up that tricks you into believing that the security of your PC is compromised. The minute you click on the link, they steal your personal information, tap your bank account, or install dangerous software on your device.
The report states that these threats rely on “FUD” – fear, uncertainty and doubt – to scare you into believing that something has gone terribly wrong and that you need to take immediate action. “Tech support spams topped our list of scam threats for 13 consecutive weeks, from July 1 through September 30. Prediction: Expect strong momentum into the holiday season,” the report states.
As the holiday season approaches and the Christmas season comes close globally, the intensity of the spams is expected to increase with shopping scams and charity scams getting added to the list over the next three months. As a user, awareness is your best defence. Never call a number or click on a link based on a pop-up or warning. Instead, reach out to the company or solution provider through their official website and explain what happened.
Installing an effective anti-virus system can offer added protection. NortonLifeLock technology blocks more than 9 million threats on an average day globally, which includes over 14 million phishing attempts and over 52,000 ransomware detections.
Apart from tech spams, the report also highlighted some more cyber safety threats that Internet users are falling prey to today. Online gaming, which has recently gained popularity in the last few months, is the other space where a lot of scammers are attacking innocent users. In gaming, virtual goods have real value and scammers cash in on this to steal your personal credentials and banking details. The Norton 360 for Gamers is especially designed to protect your devices, gaming accounts and digital assets from threats that you might face during playing.
The other kind of website that one needs to be alert about is online banking. As lockdowns kept us home, many of us have turned to online banking. Norton Labs researchers noticed a phishing campaign that targeted customers of a leading bank, Citibank, where the attackers created a fake website that was a near carbon copy of the real banking webpage.
“The fraud was hosted on a domain using an “internationalized domain name” that used unicode characters to resemble the legitimate Citibank domain “citi.com.” But with a twist. The domain name registered by the attackers in so-called punycode was ‘xn--ct-njab.com.' Browsers convert that for display in the address bar as “cítí.com,” the report states.
Users of banking services must be aware that the bank will not send you a message to share your login credentials. Always log in directly by clicking the link on the website of your bank and always use the customer support phone number mentioned at the back of your credit card or ATM card to contact the bank's customer support team. The advanced security of the Norton 360 range helps protect your devices against existing and emerging online threats and helps protect your personal and professional information when you are online.
The other big area of concern, according to the report, are phishing emails, where you will receive an email that contains a link to a fake website which is very similar to the original one in look and feel. This website could seek sensitive information such as account credentials, or other personal information in the website. These details are transmitted back to the phisher, who will attempt to use them to initiate a fraud.
Even though phishing has been around for more than 20 years, it is still one of the most common scams that people fall prey to. Today, phishing kits are easily available making it simple for anyone even with little technical knowhow to launch a phishing campaign. As an internet user, you must beware of any emails that come from unofficial sources and refrain from clicking on links that divert you to a website that seeks your personal details. The password manager tool of Norton 360 also helps store, generate and manage your passwords, credit card information and other credentials online in a safe manner.
With your smartphone emerging as an all-in-one device that also enables access to the internet, you need to beware of attacks via unsecure Wi-Fi networks, or unverified Apps, or even through web browsing on the smartphone. For this, the Norton Mobile Security feature for Android as well as IoS phones helps protect your phone or tablet against cyber threats that could steal your personal information saved on these devices. An App Advisor+ feature also warns you against potential risks like malware, online privacy and other risks that are detected before you even download the App.
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