Lockdown Living: How to protect yourself from internet scam?

Published by kevin Ehiozefe on

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses and countries across the globe are now undergoing a seismic shift. And to curb the spread of the virus, citizens and businesses are to remain on a complete lockdown mode for the time.

But for some business owners, on the other hand, they are striving hard to keep the pace – exploring new business horizons. Meanwhile, some internet nerds are having a feel-day as more persons tend to use the internet in shopping for their daily needs

These cybercriminals are devising new variations of old techniques to remotely gain access to your private computer or mobile devices in an effort to try and part you from your money or property. The following are some of the recently devised variations by these cyber-thieves.

But just before we go further, I want you to take a quick look at this piece I wrote some days back on “choosing the best browser for your security and privacy”

The New Era for Old Scams

Fraudulent billing calls. 

As coronavirus loom in many cities across the globe, there have been reports of people pretending to be a doctor or medical billing professional calling and asking for medical bill payment on behalf of a relative. For starters, never give bank account or credit card information over the phone.

Except in extremely rare and specific cases, know that hospitals and clinics do not call the loved ones of patients regarding unpaid medical bills. If you have personally been to the doctor, always independently verify with an outbound call to your doctor or hospital whether there are legitimate outstanding medical bills due.

internet scam

Emails pretending to be from the WHO. 

Scammers have also been sending emails that seem like they are from legitimate health organizations, a variation on an older phishing scheme that sends communication appearing to be from your bank. Inevitably these scams ask for login credentials and/or banking information.

All correspondence from seemingly legitimate institutions should trigger you to carefully scrutinize the sender’s email address. This goes especially for any organization that is asking for personal data of any kind. Avoid clicking on attachments or replying to anything that you have not independently verified by searching online for the actual organization’s website link structure.

More Credit Card Fraud

Identity and credit card theft is also on the rise. Reports of fraudulent credit card charges–often in the hundreds of dollars for basic supplies like bathroom tissue–have skyrocketed. Do everything you can to protect your cards when making online purchases. ByePass is a secure password and credit card manager that sees to it you never have to store your passwords or card information in your web browser, where it can be easily hacked.

ByePass locally encrypts your passwords and credit card info in one stored place, calling them up to autofill login info only when you need them. ByePass is available as a standalone browser extension and Android/iOS mobile app, as well as one of the features within System Mechanic Ultimate Defense.

Fraudulent billing

Hacker’s Delight: internet Video Calls 

Video conferencing apps like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Houseparty, Skype, and WebEx have seen an explosion in their usage since the arrival of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, thousands of personal videos have been left viewable on the open web, raising a relatively new privacy risk to millions of people who are using these apps for the first time.

The recent Zoom hacks revealed personal information and intimate at-home conversations. The Washington Post reported that among these were “one-on-one therapy sessions; a training orientation for workers doing telehealth calls that included people’s names and phone numbers; small-business meetings that included private company financial statements; and elementary school classes, in which children’s faces, voices, and personal details were exposed.”

How did this happen? Video conferences are almost always not recorded by default, but hosts can often choose to record them and save to online servers or their own computers without participants’ consent. In Zoom’s case, many of the videos appear to have been recorded through Zoom but saved onto separate online storage, without a password.

Here are steps you can take to help secure your online video calls: since the arrival of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, thousands of personal videos have been left viewable on the open web, raising a relatively new privacy risk to millions of people who are using these apps for the first time.

The recent Zoom hacks revealed personal information and intimate at-home conversations. The Washington Post reported that among these were “one-on-one therapy sessions; a training orientation for workers doing telehealth calls that included people’s names and phone numbers; small-business meetings that included private company financial statements; and elementary school classes, in which children’s faces, voices, and personal details were exposed.”

How did this happen? Video conferences are almost always not recorded by default, but hosts can often choose to record them and save to online servers or their own computers without participants’ consent. In Zoom’s case, many of the videos appear to have been recorded through Zoom but saved onto separate online storage, without a password. Here are steps you can take to help secure your online video calls:

  1. Don’t record. The easiest way to protect your videos as a host is to avoid recording them.
  2. Give each video a unique name. Zoom gives a video a highly predictable name by default. When saving a video to your computer, rename it so a stranger cannot guess it and search for it through one of the free search engines that scan open web directories.
  3. Make your upload tosites private. Dedicate a favorite online file-storage site to your video calls, and set it to private viewing-only. Amazon, YouTube, Dropbox, and Vimeo all allow you to password-protect your content.
  4. Limit Meeting ID-sharing. Rather than sharing publicly, send your Zoom Meeting ID directly to the people who are to attend the call.
  5. Password-protect the call. Only share the password with the people attending.
  6. Set screen sharing to Host-Only. This precaution prevents “Zoombombing” trolls from blasting disruptive texts or images to meeting participants.
  7. Approve each entrant. Zoom has a waiting room feature that keeps participants from joining the meeting until the host approves.

Increased Cyber-threats

As schools shutter and home education continues to flourish, cybercriminals see increased opportunity. This is partly because the sheer number of computer users online is good for phishing odds.

It also helps that infrequent users who have previously not given much thought to internet/online security are now signing in and spending lots of time exposed online, trying to educate their children with remote-learning software and other unfamiliar tools.

The increase in cybercrime doesn’t bode well for the many Windows 7 users who were recently dropped from receiving Microsoft’s critical security updates.

From a business perspective, as companies switch to staff working from home–also referred to as a distributed workforce–the increased decentralization can lead to security problems your office’s old IT department used to thwart with a centralized firewall.

Cybercriminals are keenly aware of this, and ramping up attacks in home environments. Many at-home workers use work and personal devices interchangeably, which makes them a favorite target right now.

It is therefore more important than ever to:

  • Have real-time AV protection such as System Shield
  • Install Malware Killer on-demand malware remover n case your PC does become infected
  • Run Malware Killer scans regularly to look for new threats

Luckily, I found out that several of the features in iolo’s System Mechanic® Ultimate Defense™ can help stave off much of the danger. Here is a look at several of them

Features in iolo’s System Mechanic® Ultimate Defense™

System Mechanic

Security Optimizer™

This feature looks for Windows security settings that could leave your PC vulnerable to attack. After Microsoft support ends, there will be no new Windows 7 security patches from Microsoft.

Be sure to at least run this feature to shore up points of vulnerability such as the Windows Remote Registry service, which can allow other users over a network to modify your system registry.

System Shield®

A good dual-engine antivirus is your best defense against malware once security updates are no longer offered. System Shield is real-time protection that can help block many types of incoming malware to ensure your PC is as safe as possible without updates from Microsoft. System Shield will continue to receive regular updates, even though Windows 7 won’t.

Malware Killer™

It’s also a best practice to regularly scan your system for malware; Malware Killer is an on-demand malware finder and removal tool. It analyzes what it finds in the Scan Cloud™, where it can safely distinguish malicious software from benign.

Startup Optimizer™, Deceptive and Unwanted Programs Remover™, and Advanced Uninstaller™

Because the programs on your Windows 7 computer will no longer receive security updates for Windows 7, getting rid of the ones you don’t use is a good idea.

Some particularly vulnerable ones include Java™ and Adobe Flash Player. Startup Optimizer will tell you which programs are automatically launching at startup, a great place to start finding out what you don’t want or need.

It also removes junk you may have been unaware of, like toolbars that might have “piggybacked” their way onto your system during the installation of a different program. Deceptive and Unwanted Programs Remover will scan your system for these items (called “PUPs”) whenever you perform a system scan, and assist you in removing them.

Privacy Guardian™ automated cookie cleaning and private search bar

Privacy Guardian can help you avoid leaving traces of yourself on the internet. By scheduling regular removal of web-browsing traces stored on your PC, you can easily and automatically thwart invasive collection of your private data, oftentimes the first step in opening you up to a cyber-attack.

Furthermore, Privacy Guardian’s private search bar does not store, share or sell what you search for, unlike many browsers that do not prioritize your personal security and anonymity.

Virtually everything you do on a PC is stored in activity logs or leaves a trail, even long after it’s been “cleared.” But System Mechanic ensures your privacy by;

  • Employing multi-pass military-grade wiping to ensure complete removal of all deleted data
  • Defeats forensics recovery techniques
  • Permanently and completely removes internet history and cache
  • Integrates Incinerator® technology with window Recycle Bin for high security
  • Cleans up after all major web browser, online chat, and web toolbars

Savvy PC users know to “clear the cache and browser history” as a basic privacy precaution, but most are unaware of the multitude of locations where common programs leave a vivid trail of activity that can be financially or personally devastating in the wrong hands.

Deleted files are not really erased – their space is simply marked “available” by Windows, and their contents can persist for months or years, even after you empty the Recycle Bin or format your hard disk!

DriveScrubber

And for more data security…

The highest level of data and security features in System Mechanic Pro includes the award-winning DriveScrubber®, Search and Recover™, System Shield® AntiVirus and AntiSpyware, Privacy Cleaner™ and Secure Online Backup.

System Mechanic provides complete ease and flexibility to help you speed up your PC no matter what your experience level


kevin Ehiozefe

Hi, my name is Kelvin Ehiozefe am an online entrepreneur and a Content writer. I write about Business start-up, Blogging, Lifstyle and Technology

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